Bolen Bluff/Paynes Prairie and Sweetwater Wetlands

April 23, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Great blue heronsGreat blue herons

22Apr2024: Gainesville and Micanopy, Florida, USA

This was my third trip to Bolen Bluff Trail in the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, but was the first time I had been able to venture out to the observation platform. The other times the trail had been impassable due to the high water and muck.

From the time you emerge from the trees, it is approximately a half mile to the platform (based on Google satellite measurements).

I arrived mid-day, and the high sun was not friendly. Heat distortion killed any shots I attempted there.

There were wild horses to the left and behind the platform (toward highway 441 in the distance).  There were bison to the right of the platform at a long distance. A bald eagle, some northern harriers, red-shouldered hawks, buzzards, great blue herons, red-winged blackbirds, boat-tailed grackles, and egrets were among the birds I saw.

I had better luck at Sweetwater Wetlands Park a few minutes away. Several types of herons, red-winged blackbirds, sandhill cranes, rabbits were observed.

Alligators were visible in virtually every open spot of water this day (and some on land).

Roaming alligatorRoaming alligator

. The limpkin and boat-tailed grackle in the slide show were seen at the Ecopassage Boardwalk Overlook on Hwy 441 at Paynes Prairie.


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