This morning, I hit up Scioto Audubon Metro Park, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite retreats. They've done a good job of fixing up the boat launch and a few observations decks, and the stage is set to break ground on an urban nature center that will give Downtown residents a great place to return to nature.

The Whittier Peninsula, right across from the city's impound lot, has been dedicated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. It's heating up now that spring migrants are coming up from Central and South America to nest, breed and galavant in Ohio and Canada.

For birders, this is the time to get out. First-time hobbyists will be able to see about 20 species in a few hours; those more experienced will glimpse some new ones, or at least a few seasonal treats. This morning, I saw about twenty, including two three ones: killdeer, female lesser scaup and the northern mockingbird.

That's why I'm leading a birding/hiking trip this weekend at the park. It should be a great two-hour excursion with brunch somewhere in German Village to follow. Bring friends -- and binoculars!

What: Venture Club Birding and Hiking Extravaganza When: Saturday, April 5 Time: 10 a.m. Where: Scioto Audubon Metro Park, 395 W. Whittier St. Other info: Park and meet at the Lower Scioto Boat Launch, right across from the city impound lot. We'll be walking mostly on paved surfaces and a bit on gravelly unimproved paths. Bring friends and binoculars if you have them. The hiking is easy, and we'll do about two miles total. Novices and experts are welcome!