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  • At-A-Glance
  • What to Look For
  • Noteworthy Rarities
  • Natural Features
  • Local Resources
  • 4 - Walnut Beach Park

    City of Ashtabula
    1645 Walnut Blvd.,
    Ashtabula, OH 44004

    440.992.7103

    Public Access

    Open daily, year-round

    Amenities

    Hiking Trails, Restrooms (seasonally), Picnic Area

    GPS Coordinates

    N 41° 54'4.42"; W 80° 48'19.15"

    Driving Directions

    From State Route 2, exit onto North Ridge Road/U.S. Route 20. Follow U.S. Route 20 as it becomes West Main Street. Turn left at West Avenue, then make a slight left at Lake Avenue. Cross Walnut Boulevard to continue on West First Street.

    What to Look For

    Walnut Beach offers excellent access to Lake Erie, and protects an extensive sand beach. The best birding occurs in fall and early winter.

    Late summer through September brings migrant shorebirds that stop in to rest on the beach. Many do not linger long, especially Whimbrel, which is notorious for its brief stopovers. October is a good time to watch for several species of sparrows lurking in vegetation behind the beach.

    November and December bring large numbers of birds moving offshore over Lake Erie. Huge numbers of Bonaparte's Gull and Red-breasted Merganser can be tallied, along with large passages of Common Loons. Early mornings are an especially good time to catch flyover loons, and productive mornings can produce several dozen or more.

    Although spring does not bring the diversity and numbers of species that fall does, March is a good time to watch for migrant raptors. Migrant hawks tend to hug the shoreline of Lake Erie, and large numbers of Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks can be seen. Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harriers, Bald Eagles, and even Merlin and Peregrine Falcon might also be recorded.

    Noteworthy Rarities

    Whimbrel is always a possibility in August or early September, and Brant sometimes occurs on the beach, with most sightings from November. Cold, blustery October days are a good time to watch for flyby jaegers, with Pomarine Jaeger the most likely species. Scoters and Long-tailed Duck are possible in early winter, and winter brings the chance of Snowy Owl or unusual gulls such as Glaucous, Iceland, or Lesser Black-backed. Good numbers of sparrows can sometimes be found in scruffy vegetation behind the beach; October brings peak numbers and diversity.

    Natural Features

    The western parts of the beach support a number of now-rare beach plants. Most of Ohio's Lake Erie beaches are heavily used by bathers and beach-goers, leading to the decline of our native beach flora. Some of the rare plants at Walnut Beach include Inland Beach Pea (Lathyrus japonicus), American Beach Grass (Ammophila breviligulata), and Seaside Spurge (Chamaesyce polygonifolia). A threatened insect, the Hairy-necked Tiger Beetle (Cicindela hirticollis), also occurs on the beach.

    Local Resources

    Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau

    City of Ashtabula

    Nearby Lake Access Site

    Lakeshore Park. This 53-acre park is managed by the Ashtabula Township Park Commission and features a sand beach 900 feet in length, and a 250-foot pier into Lake Erie. When not heavily populated in warmer months, the park can be good for a variety of waterbirds. Located at the junction of State Route 531 and State Road, 1.6 miles east of Walnut Beach Park.