Felts Audubon Preserve is a 30 acre parcel managed by Manatee County Aubudon Society. There are wooded fields, a bird blind (they keep the glass viewing wall really clean and clear), a small pond and open fields. Over 100 bird species have been recorded.
Sparky has been there twice. There are PAINTED BUNTINGS there! And Indigo Buntings! Today we saw pairs of both painted buntings, indigo buntings, and juvenile buntings. Sorry for the low quality photos today. The bird blind has a large glass viewing wall right in the front, so shooting through the glass into a dark, forested glen using a long zoom makes lighting conditions difficult. You can stand off to either side of the bird blind behind short partitioned wooden walls with open viewing windows but then you have to contend with the mosquitoes finding you when you might not be finding any birds at the moment! Wear insect repellent spray if you go in the early morning or late afternoon. If there are quite a few people there in the viewing room, and sometimes there are, it's too difficult to set up a tripod, so Sparky's photos are also a little bit blurry.
These are immature indigo buntings, we think. The one on the left might be a female. They start out as brownish tan and as they mature, they lose the tan, and the blue starts coming in as you can see on the bird on the right.
It was a thrill to see BOTH the indigo bunting and the painted buntings come in to feed. They would stay for a few minutes then fly off.
Some knowledgeable lady viewing there said, "Oh, they will be back in about ten minutes." And sure enough, they came back, this time with more friends.
Not only is this a great place to see buntings, but you might also see butterflies or great horned owls (we did)....
This is a JUVENILE great horned owl...his sibling was right next to him in a big ole tree wa-a-a-a-y up high. The sun was in the wrong place, but at least you can see the two of them, headed for sleepy time.
They blend into the trees so well! And they are so BIG for being young!
Heading back to our car, we spotted some beautiful wildflowers. Have no idea what they are, but they sure were pretty....
If you are thinking that you'd like to go visit this small preserve, we highly recommend it.
Directions: From I-75, take exit 224, Ellenton. Go west on SR-301, turn right on Ellenton-Gillette Rd. Travel north for about 2 miles. Turn left on 49th Street East for 0.25 miles to 24th Avenue, and turn left. The entrance gate is on the left about 100 yards from the corner. You have to park on the sides of the road at the preserve.
It's definitely headed straight from winter to summer here in the Sarasota, Bradenton area. We've definitely had a nice cool spell for awhile back in February, making it more pleasant to get out and enjoy nature. Temps will be cool next week, in the seventies, during Sparky's spring break, so she's going to really enjoy that. Might get another posting in, we shall see! But then temps are climbing back into the eighties....as usual......Bye for now......