La Chua Trail/Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park/Orlando Wetlands

April 24, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Red-shouldered hawk - La Chua TrailRed-shouldered hawk - La Chua TrailRed-shouldered hawk - La Chua Trail

24Apr2024: I arrived at a locked entry gate for La Chua Trailhead a few minutes past 7am. It's a good idea to check opening/closing times and not assume places open at sunrise.  

There is a nice boardwalk through the first part of the trail.  The light is in your face first thing in the morning when facing the trees to the left of the boardwalk. (It's a good idea to check sun position before making plans. I frequently use the Sun Surveyor app on my phone.)

A red-shouldered hawk, blue grosbeak, and great blue heron gave me some good shots for the early morning session.

On the advice of a fellow I met on the way out of La Chua Trail, I ventured a few miles south to the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park Visitor Center. Sandy, a volunteer at the visitor center, was a fountain of information about the park and refuge. She pointed out that some wild horses and bison were visible from the center and had spotting scopes setup and aimed appropriately. The view from the observation tower was nice. Based on some clues Sandy provided, I found a bald eagle near the visitor center, but I did not find the barred owl that had recently been seen.

Bald Eagle - Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park Visitor CenterBald Eagle - Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park Visitor CenterBald Eagle - Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park Visitor Center

The two hour trip from Micanopy to Orlando Wetlands took nearly 3.5 hours with construction traffic and a horrible wreck on the turnpike.

Once I arrived, I was overwhelmed with the number of wood storks. Roseate spoonbills, great blue herons, egrets, osprey were plentiful. Most of the action was along the boardwalk behind the [under construction] education center. I made the full walk around the 'birding loop' and really didn't see much on that part of my 3 mile walk. (There's a lot of trail that I didn't cover in this park.)

Wood stork - Orlando WetlandsWood stork - Orlando WetlandsWood stork - Orlando Wetlands

 


Comments

No comments posted.
Loading...