Wednesday, February 28—Platt Branch Wildlife Management Area. This trip was into an area where there are no paved roads, no boardwalks, and no facilities yet many of us went anyway. A huge THANK YOU to Steve Shattler of FWC for providing transportation around the area. Two birds were thrills and lifers for many participants. The red cockaded woodpecker and the Bachman's sparrow graced us with their presence. If you want a trip into REAL FLORIDA I strongly recommend this trip. You will have to walk on trails but it is worth the journey.
Wednesday, February 14—Barley Barber Swamp. A foggy start and a somewhat long drive was rewarded by 45 (+) species sightings. This trip required photo id, pre-registration, and other such things due to the fact that it is on Florida Power and Light Property. Chuck our guide did a fine job of explaining the swamp, its thousand year old bald cypress trees, and why it is protected. Visit the web site for more information and trip requirements. www.barleybarber.org
Tuesday, March 6—Rafter T Ranch Wow, what a great day. Perfect weather, perfect host, and a swamp buggy ride through one of Florida's most beautiful ranches. Jimmy Wohl, and Brother-in-Law Bob were so gracious to show us around. They provide our ragtag group with two swamp buggies and I can attest that everyone had a wonderful time. Species count was near 40 with believe it or not a SWAN camped out in a pature. Our photos are not distinct enough to accurately id the swan so Dr. Paul Gray of Florida Audubon will go to the ranch and hopefully be able to id it. That is if the swan is still there. I have posted photos ... you be the judge. I believe it is a Tundra Whistling Swan. If however it turns out to be a trumpeter swan that will be something for the books. Confirmed: A trumpeter swan! Thank you Dr. Gray, Bill Pranty, Dale Knapp, Jimmy Brogdan, and all who contributed photos and efforts in the Trumpeter Swan identification. This was a lifer for many of us.
Friday, April 6, - Ft. DeSoto, St Pete - What a day! 80, yes 80 plus species. The weather was fabulous, the birds cooperated, and everyone had something to take back home and talk about. For me it was the reddish egret first spotted even before we entered the park. First stop inside the park was the mulberry bush/tree area where we stayed long enough to gawk at how the migrants love these berries. Thank you Tom Delaney for leading us on this amazing adventure. Our last trip this season is April 17, 2018 to Royce Unit. I have been told that Peace Pond has water and birds but more importantly there are eggs and baby blue birds in the boxes. Bring a friend.
Photos and Accounts 2018
Thursday, January 11 - Six Mile Cypress - What a great day for fourteen of Highlands County Audubon members and friends. We went to "Six Mile Cypress" near Ft Myers. Our species count neared 50. These photos are just some of what was seen. Yes, I know a snake is not a bird and neither are turtles, but we are after-all conservationist. A Florida Panther was spotted and photographed just 40 odd minutes before we ventured on the boardwalk. If you love the outdoors Six Mile Cypress is a great place to see "Real Florida" and it's just off I-75. A big THANK YOU to Julie Henderson for arranging our trip. Consider joining us on one of our trips.
Friday , January 26 - Ft. Pierce Inlet State Park and Savannas Preserve State Park. Sixteen attendees and six vehicles left on a very windy and blustery day headed for the east coast. In route 20 plus species were observed. Once we arrived at the park the walk down the jetty was rewarded with gulls, terns, pelicans, and even a porpoise frolicking in the incredibly high and energized surf. Lunch behind the Aquarium Museum in the lovely manicured area under the pavilion allowed us to and another 20 plus species. Noted species for the day included Lesser Black Backed Gull, and a magnificent Great Horned Owl that has taken over an osprey nest. A great big THANK YOU to Dale Knapp for leading the group. Consider joining us on a trip and remember to bring a friend.
Thursday, February 22 – Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary & Blair Audubon A very good day of birding with 56 (+) species being noted. Bird of the trip was the yellow-crowned night heron. When you compare previous trips to Corkscrew you realize the damage that this year's hurricane did. Trees are down everywhere. Someone once told me that hurricanes are mother natures pruning instrument and now I know that's true. Thank you Sally Stein for leading our group. Next year's trip will be limited to nine people. I will let these photos speak for themselves. Thank you to everyone who contributed photos. There were so many.
Thursday March 29 - Pelican Island NWR Pontoon Boat Trip and Nature Walk. 16 lucky folks got to go on this very nice Indian River Lagoon boat trip. The weather was a bit brisk so the birds were not as abundant as expected but our species total was inching toward 60 on the trip home. Most interesting to me was the loon. Once back on land lunch produced a few warblers. The walking tour produced of course a black and white warbler. This time it wasn't Mike Knapp who saw it but his brother Dale who also spotted a hooded warbler. Our next trip should really bring out the warblers. Ft. Desoto in St. Pete has warblers, shore birds, and migratory birds galore. Join us and bring a friend. Mark your calendar for Friday, April 6.
Thank you Sherry Wallace for these beautiful photos from Ft Desoto
Friday, February 9—Wakodahatchee Wetlands Delray Beach. Today's trip was a very long drive. I believe it was well worth it when our final species count for the day was 69. The usual were viewed on the way down and on the way back. What was so great about this trip was the site itself. Woodstorks, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, and Anhingas nesting with young abounded. Other species smaller and in less numbers were present. The highlight of the day for this birder was the lesser bittern secretly walking beneath the lily pads. I highly recommend this amazing birding spot. Oh, and there were some Giant iguanas roaming around. RDL These wonderful photos were taken by Anita Davis Revell one of our newest guests. Consider coming on one of our trips.
Thank you Jim Upchurch for these amazing photos from our Ft DeSoto trip
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Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - Avon Park Air Force Range - A chilly morning and a later start than usual netted us 42 species. Most notable was the red cockaded woodpecker. Some other sightings included our local ibis, little blue herons, great white egret, and quite a few warblers. Of course Michelle Dent as leader was another highlight. Her knowledge of the area and her birding skills are stellar. She even introduced us to her very own public relations scrub jay. Enjoy the photos and consider joining us on one of our trips. Thank you Michelle for providing me and a few others with our lifer (red cockaded woodpecker)
Thursday, March 22—Circle B Bar Reserve & Nature Center in Lakeland. A great big thank you to JIM UPCHURCH for leading this very well attended trip. Better than 20 folks drove roughly 60 miles one way to experience this amazing wild life reserve. From the accounts so far it appears that 55 species were spotted with one brown pelican clearly hanging out with numerous white pelicans. In a shaded area several painted buntings were observed. Tom Delaney sent this late breaking news piece. He also saw a female indigo and first year male indigo bunting. At first Susan, Tom, and Janet were studying the female as a sparrow. Tom thought it may be a juvenile male painted bunting. The female indigo seemed to be the bird of the day to talk about. Thanks to Dale Knapp for the species count. We would be one short if it were not for Mike Knapp's unique ability to spot the amazing black and white warbler. It seems he manages to find one on every trip. (Maybe the b/w warblers finds him).