Wildlife Sightings

Spot some local wildlife? Tell us about it!

Use the form below – including photos, if you have them – to let us know the date, time and location of your sighting (be it in the parks or in your own backyard), as well as what type of wildlife you spotted and the behavior you observed.

Your regular reports will help populate this page for the enjoyment of your community of fellow Nature lovers and the interests of our Natural Resource Management team. Thanks in advance!

Please note that while this form does collect your name and contact information, those items will not be posted with your sighting, only used in case we need to contact you for additional details.

Report Your Findings

Step 1 of 4 - Sighting Date & Time

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • :
  • Mallard Ducks

    Date: Oct 05, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Location: Orchard Hills Park

    Wildlife Seen: Mallards 5

    Behavior Observed:

    On the pond

  • Cross-line Wave Moth

    Date: Aug 30, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Location: Mulberry woods road

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Cross-line Wave Moth

    Behavior Observed:

    Sitting on wall

  • Leucistic Hawk

    Date: Aug 21, 2020 at 8:30 pm

    Location: Orchard Hills Park

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Leucistic Hawk

    Behavior Observed:

    Flying the perimeter

  • Bald Eagles

    Date: Dec 31, 1969 at

    Location: Walter C. Best Wildlife Preserve

    Wildlife Seen: 2 Bald eagles

    Behavior Observed:

    While we were walking around the lake, two bald eagles were spotted flying in circles over the lake. We spotted the same two eagles several times during our walk around the lake. Beautiful underbellies very different from hawks or vultures. Tried to get some photos from my phone, but no luck.

    Naturalist's Response

    Thanks for the sighting. It never grows old to see these marvelous and majestic birds soaring overhead.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Denise Wolfe, naturalist

  • Great Blue Heron

    Date: Jul 13, 2020 at 10:15 pm

    Location: Veterans Legacy Woods

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Great Blue Heron

    Behavior Observed:

    Standing on the edge of a small pond, flew away as we approached

  • Turtle

    Date: Jul 13, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Location: Beartown Lakes Reservation

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Turtle

    Behavior Observed:

    I saw a turtle with two very distinct yellow spots on the back of it’s head. I was thinking it was a musk turtle because its shell wasn’t quite like a painted and I could see the yellow stripes along the sides of the head. Then I noted the bright yellow spots one on each side on the top of the head. I am not familiar with that turtle (I am observant but no expert). My ODNR book implies a Ouachita which would be unexpected but fits with my thinking Musk not Painted. We were at the swampy overlook/ bridge at the lower SW corner of Lower Bass Lake. He was in the mucky water plants and was about 6 inches in diameter? Do Paints and Sliders have yellow spots?

    Naturalist's Response

    Thanks for sharing your mystery turtle sighting from Beartown Lakes!

    We love a mystery; here are some potential suspects that fit the description of a small-sized turtle with yellow markings on its head:

    • Common Musk Turtle, Sternotherus odoratus.  These “stinkpots” have high-backed shells (which is consistent with your observation that the shell was different from a painted turtle’s), and are in the category of “less common than painted turtles, but not as rare as a Pegasus.”  This could be a good match for your mystery turtle!
    • Spotted Turtle, Clemmys guttata.   This is a rare turtle, with a constellation of yellow spots over its head and body.  However, since those “all-over” yellow spots are pretty distinctive and you don’t mention them, a Spotted Turtle is not one of my top suspects.
    • Northern Map Turtle, Graptemys geographica.  These are larger and flatter-shelled than Musk Turtles, and are found in Geauga County.  Their distinctive marking is a yellow “moustache” above the mouth; since you didn’t mention this feature, a Northern Map Turtle isn’t my prime suspect.
    • Ouachita Map Turtle, Graptemys ouachitensis.  These have been spotted in adjacent counties, but are rarely seen locally.  It’s not impossible that you spotted a Ouachita Map turtle at Beartown.  However, it’s tricky to spot the difference between Northern and Ouachita Map Turtles unless you’re holding the animal for close-up inspection.


    We’ll all keep an eye out at Beartown, and see if anyone can get a photograph of your mystery turtle.  Good luck!

  • Soft-shelled turtle

    Date: Jun 27, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Location: Auburn Township

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Soft-shelled Turtle

    Behavior Observed:

    Trying to cross the street

  • Earthquake

    Date: Jun 23, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    Location: Observatory Park

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Earthquake

    Behavior Observed:

    At 11:29 AM Ohio time, a powerful earthquake struck below Mexico’s Oaxaca province. The area sits near the boundary between the North American and Cocos plates, and has a long history of major earthquakes.

    Today’s earthquake had a magnitude of 7.4, which makes it more than 250 times bigger than the 1986 Lake Erie earthquake.

    Even though Geauga County is more than 1,970 miles away from today’s earthquake, an earthquake that size still registered on local seismographs.

    (The earthquake-sensing equipment at Observatory Park moved only a fraction of a millimeter, but that’s from an earthquake on the other side of our continent!)

    The earthquake was also detected by seismographs at Lake Erie Bluffs park in Perry, and in Trumbull County’s Farmdale.

  • Eastern Pondhawk Dragonfly

    Date: Jun 14, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Location: Burton Wetlands Nature Preserve

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Dragonfly

    Behavior Observed:

    This dragonfly landed on the Jewelweeds along the driveway long enough for me to get a few good photos of it.

    Naturalist's Response

    Thanks for the nice picture of a female Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly. Males and females of this species are different colors. The male is pale blue with a green face and white at the tip of his abdomen. Immature males may appear green and blue. The females, as you can see in your photo, are green with some black markings on the abdomen. Pondhawks are beautiful dragonflies and eat lots of pesky insects like mosquitoes and other annoying-to-humans insects. -Naturalist Linda Gilbert

  • Osprey

    Date: Jun 14, 2020 at 9:00 pm

    Location: Headwaters Park

    Wildlife Seen: 1 Osprey

    Behavior Observed:

    Fishing on the lake and then eating along the shoreline high in the trees.