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Last month, on a hot and humid Wednesday, I got the chance to hike Clear Creek Metro Park with John O'Meara, the park system's executive director. We hiked some of the trails and then went off trail in search of some interesting birds.

It was a great day of hiking; exploring the deep woods; identifying flowers, trees and ferns; and glimpsing many beautiful avian species. O'Meara is a seasonsed naturalist, and he knows a great deal about everything in the woods. Plus, he's super nice.

Located in Lancaster, Clear Creek is often overlooked by Central Ohioans -- but it shouldn't be.

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Last month, on a hot and humid Wednesday, I got the chance to hike Clear Creek Metro Park with John O'Meara, the park system's executive director. We hiked some of the trails and then went off trail in search of some interesting birds.

It was a great day of hiking; exploring the deep woods; identifying flowers, trees and ferns; and glimpsing many beautiful avian species. O'Meara is a seasonsed naturalist, and he knows a great deal about everything in the woods. Plus, he's super nice.

Located in Lancaster, Clear Creek is often overlooked by Central Ohioans -- but it shouldn't be.

It holds the state's largest nature preserve, numerous geological features and 800 species of plants. More than 150 types of birds have been spotted there.

A few we saw: Hooded warbler Kentucky warbler Wood thrush Black vulture Red-eyed vireo

Also, there are lots of abandoned structures.

Since the 1920s, researchers have traveled to the Clear Creek region to study everything from soil to the Allegheny woodrat. In addition to a library of research, a crumbling infrastructure remains along the trails. You can see observation towers, cabins, outhouses and storage sheds poking through the trees.

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