Patch On The Edge

Okay, so maybe I’m stretching this “patch” thing a bit by including a spot that’s almost a 40 minute drive from the house. As the Corvus flies, it’s only 17 miles away. Alas, not being a handsome crow, I must climb into a hunk of metal and negotiate highways, bi-ways and expressways all the while trying to avoid a collision with other humanoids within their own hunks of metal scurrying along at unreasonably high rates of speed and by the time I reach the lovely setting of Lake Gwyn Park I’m ready for a peaceful walk in a wetland.

This is another man-made wetland which attempts to mitigate decades of poor irrigation and agricultural practices. An old canal dug for taking water from Lake Gwyn to nearby farms long ago completely drained the lake and “Lake” Gwyn has been devoid of water for many years. The canal eventually flows into the Peace River which empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The filtered water of the newly developed wetlands will help keep the river, and ultimately, the gulf, cleaner for the future.

The first phase of a multi-year project has developed the western portion of the former lake into a series of open water pools of varying depths and has included plantings of vegetation known to be effective natural filters. The result has been to provide attractive habitat for diverse bird species, especially during fall and spring migration. Resident birds like the place, too. Last spring we found six Snail Kites in the park and I’m pretty certain they bred there.

There is a trail of about two miles along a raised berm and through a section of pine woods which offers nice views of the wetland and a pleasant walk through shady forest. Recreation and picnic facilities are currently under construction and planning has begun for the second phase of the project which will restore the eastern half of the lake area.

As I mentioned, fall through spring can offer very good birding opportunities, but even an early morning summer walk is rewarding. Many birds have adopted the new area as home and other animals are finding the wetland to their liking as well. A patch totally worth a little drive.

Patch:  Lake Gwyn Park

Clean water, lush vegetation, a few trees. What more could a bird (or birder) ask for?

Lake Gwyn Park

Lake Gwyn Park

 

If the Great Blue Heron is present, you know the hunting and fishing are good.

Lake Gwyn Park

 

A pair of Green Herons fussed at me all along the eastern berm trail leading me to believe they had a nest nearby. They are normally silent and slink away as I approach. This one flew up to a snag and kept a close eye on me. Unusual.

Lake Gwyn Park

 

This Red-winged Blackbird announced his happiness in song from atop the same snag the Green Heron above was using. A female further along the path seemed just as happy.

Lake Gwyn Park

Lake Gwyn Park

 

A pair of River Otters were very curious about what I was doing in their territory. The presence of these mammals indicate the wetland is doing its job of providing clean water, good habitat and a healthy supply of forage. All good news.

Lake Gwyn Park

Lake Gwyn Park

Lake Gwyn Park

 

This brings to a close (stop cheering) my summary of local birding patches which Gini and I frequent. You will see the names of these spots again as they really are wonderful places to go birding, photographing, exploring and just plain relaxing. We hope you have your own list of patches where you may also experience all of the above.

Enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

 

Additional Information

Lake Gwyn Park

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography, Travel, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “Patch On The Edge

  1. Great photos as per usual!I I especially like the otters – nothing like them out here!!
    Thanks for your comment on my post – great to know that someone from your part of the world also grows pineapples.

    • Than you, Mick! There is actually a pretty good population of otters in Florida but they aren’t commonly seen. Most folks aren’t crazy enough to go to the places I like to visit. 🙂

  2. You do seem to have a wealth of places to visit Wally. 40 Miles is just about on the edge of my tolerance level but it would have to be good. I get too worried about the things I might miss on the”real” patch. I must say that I would motor 40 miles to get Otter pictures like those.

    Have fun, down there in the sun.

    • Thank you, Phil. It is often difficult to drive very far away, as you say, because I think about what I may be missing on spots I drive by.
      Oh, well. There might be something “better” around the next bend …..

  3. You really do have some wonderful places near you, Wally – and they look even more exotic to European eyes like mine! Those otter images are absolutely gorgeous, and I love your Snail Kite header – that upper mandible is amazing!

    Looks like our hot dry weather will come to an end today (temporarily) after two months – they’re forecasting thunderstorms and flash floods!

    My very best wishes to you and Gini – – – Richard

    • Thank you, Richard, and yes, we are really blessed with some great spots within easy reach. Be careful wandering about with flash flooding going on!
      Gini and I hope you and Lindsay have recovered from not feeling well and are ready to enjoy a great weekend!

  4. Those little guys are so cute. I haven’t seen any in a long time.

    • It’s the first time I’ve seen them at that location and I don’t know who was more surprised – them or me!

  5. Colour me jealous.
    A clean environment, water, beautiful birds AND river otters.
    Hooray for learning the error of our ways and creating a safe and clean environment. For us and for the no less important other species.

    • Thank you, EC. Now, if we can just figure out how to not commit those errors in the first place!
      It’s a nice place for a relaxing walk.

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