Birding at Disney Wilderness Preserve

Last week, I took a morning off and went birdwatching  with my neighbor, Sheila.  We decided to visit the Disney Wilderness Preserve.  According to their website:

“Heavily logged and used as ranchland for decades, the preserve is restored very near to its original state. (Records remain from the area’s first Spanish missionaries.) Large-scale wetland and upland restoration has included the removal of non-native, invasive plants and grasses and the removal of agricultural ditches.”

It was fascinating to think the area looked just as the early Spanish explorers would’ve found it.

The Preserve is also working with The Nature Conservancy to re-establish the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker in the preserve. I’ll definitely come back some time and look for them.  (This woodpecker can only be found in the United States.)

We discovered a baby gopher tortoise on our path.   I’ve seen adult gopher tortoises before (at about 15″ across); this baby was about 2″ across!  I used this great online key for identifying turtles to figure out what this little fellow was.

If you’d like to know, we spotted: gopher tortoise, stork, sandhill crane, little blue heron, greater yellowlegs, osprey, red-bellied woodpecker, pine warbler, turkey, eastern meadowlark, loggerhead shrike, catbird, tufted titmouse, and hundreds of tree swallows.  We also saw a number of butterflies, but didn’t identify them.

Enjoy some pictures of  the birds, the tortoise, and the preserve itself.

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