Monday, March 25, 2019

Duette Watershed Preserve

OK, all you birders out there...here's another suggested "hot" birding spot in Sarasota County from the little red book the Audubon Society of Sarasota puts out, (available for purchase at the Celery Fields Visitor Center). This place is called Duette Preserve, or officially on a GPS navigation probe, the Duette Watershed Preserve. It is located 26 miles east of I-75 on SR-64, north on Duette Road, 6.6 miles to the west on Rawls Rd.  There are two entrances and the preserve is open 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Fridays, Sat. and Sun. 8:00-4:00, and Mon-Thurs, you pre-register at a check station. According to the brochure put out by Manatee County, you can hike, fish, horseback ride, and view wildlife here.

about a 1/2 mile in on the trail today
Sparky is starting to think "hot birding spot" simply means there is very little shade and the trails are out in the open, so it's going to be a hot hike, haha....This is a park/preserve out in the boonies, near one of the Mosaic Mining facilities...It was a beautiful day, but this is  not a beautiful place to hike or bird watch in Sparky's humble opinion. It is 22,000 acres of pine flat woods, hardwood swamps, oak scrub and dry prairie. The preserve has 16 trails and Sparky found out later from a county worker that the trails are just roads that are go in and around the preserve. 

According to the birding book, you might see belted kingfishers, egrets, herons, white ibis, Florida scrub jays, burrowing owls, wild turkeys and sandhill cranes. Sparky saw none of those today...but she doesn't have binocs so that hinders the search a bit. And she only went down one trail, so this is not a particularly good review of this place! Sparky is just not a fan of scrub brush birding and scratchy, dry prairie. The part that Sparky explored today was boring and down right ugly looking...Burned out patches of foliage, tangly brush and not a whole lot else. Sparky thought this might be another trail, but it was probably some kind of service road, path, ATV trail?

BUT--A couple of butterflies, so that means there must be pretty flowers somewhere, right? Sparky didn't see them. Just some cool lichens (?) growing....

Oh, wait...one little tiny wildflower bush trying to survive.....

This preserve does have a nice picnicking/camping area, but it's primitive camping, no water or electric at the sites.
Overall, it just didn't do much for Sparky, so she headed out after about a mile in....It's a good thing she did. Along came a country worker in a truck, and he informed Sparky that the preserve was closed today as a turkey hunt would be going on tomorrow! There was no notice at the gate entrance where Sparky drove in, so it was a good thing she was on her way out! For some, with good eyes and a lot of patience and time, exploring this preserve further might yield some great birding experiences, but this gal will pass on this preserve for now.

If you want to see something more up Sparky's alley, come back and read about Emerson Preserve. It is now Sparky's favorite go to place for long walks and beautiful nature. See ya later, alligator!
happy to be coming out of this preserve!

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