Marsh Madness

Sandhills in flight

Originally uploaded by debh2u

Forget March Madness and college basketball. Keith and I have discovered a birder’s paradise right in our backyard – almost. We finally took a hike at Harns Marsh – a stormwater/filter marsh owned by the East Lee Water Control District in Lee County, FL. A short drive from home, this place is a birder’s dream – at least so far this winter. Our first hike was on a sunny, warm day just before New Years. We explored the southern edge of the marsh and were quite happy and surprised to see limpkins, otters, and a very close and cooperative American bittern, among our many sightings.

Our second visit was yesterday – a cold, breezy, cloudy late afternoon stroll. This time we skirted the northern edge of the marsh – which gives you a much more expansive view of the place. In spite of the cold and clouds, the birds were active. We saw at least five limpkins, snail kites, a bald eagle, ducks, coots, red-shouldered hawks, lots of wading birds, and sandhill cranes doing their mating dances. (see sandhills video by clicking on the photo/link above)

I can’t wait to go back on a sunny day with a scope and and camera…and maybe a picnic to boot. If you live in SW Florida and like to go birding, this marsh is a must-see place! If you know of other great birding sites, please let us know!

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