Since my last post to this blog, there was a fire in the grasses at Celery Fields park, Sarasota, Florida. We haven’t had rain in weeks and the whole county is under a fire alert. The shallow ponds in which sandhill cranes spent the nights have almost entirely dried up. That would have happened even without the fire. But, now the surrounding area stinks with a scorched smell. There are only vulture birds, now.
March 12, 2009
March 5, 2009
Here is a picture of the stilt sandpiper birds that are one species of stilt bird found in ponds at the Celery Fields park, Sarasota, Florida. These birds are in the pond most of the day. The sandhill cranes are usually there only in the hour before sunset. This is a well known birding spot with a lot of cameras and scopes waiting for sandhill cranes. There’s not much interest in the stilt birds, but, they are photogenic, too.
We are off now to photograph on Siesta Key, Florida. Today is the first warm day after a week of cold and wind.
March 4, 2009
We have been busy traveling between birding spots in the greater Sarasota area. The best places to see large groups of birds that we have found are Celery Fields park, Turtle Beach on Siesta Key, and the Venice Rookery, Venice, Florida.
Celery Fields park, east of I-75 and south of Bee Ridge Road, in Sarasota used to be a celery farm. There is a gazebo on a small hill near the road with room to park about 10 cars. There are several species of very small water birds in the ponds, red wing blackbirds in the low shrubs, a hawk can often be seen in distant trees, and turkey vultures sometimes circle overhead. But, the big attraction for bird watchers are the sandhill cranes that fly into the pond just before sunset each night. They fly in groups of 2-5 and eventually there are 15-25 cranes in the shallow ponds.
Turtle beach has the usual pelicans and several varieties of gulls. Sometimes a big Louisiana Blue Heron is seen shadowing a fisherman and hoping for a handout. There are lots of stilt birds walking in and out of the waves looking for a meal. The largest number of birds appear in flocks of 40 or more in the late afternoon. Sometimes there are more gulls than one can count.
The Venice rookery is a small collection of trees on a small island in a pond off Route 41 near Jacaranda Blvd. in Venice, Florida. Blue herons, night herons, ibis, anhinga, and other birds fly in just before sunset to spend the night in the trees.