Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Estero Bay State Buffer Preserve

It was with glee and excitement that I entered the trail with Gail and later was joined by Marie. This is a venue that I had wanted to see after many reports of ducks and Avocets but the terrain conditions and not wanting to go alone kept me from you can just imagine how happy I was to finally be able to see it - and so we begin...
Welcome to the Estero Bay State Buffer Preserve. This preserve is about 9,000 acres, but the size continues to grow as we acquire more land. The Aquatic Preserve was established in 1966 and consists primarily of Estero Bay and its tributaries. This public access point is referred to as Winkler Point, and encompasses over 600 acres of flatwoods, salt flats, and transitional tidal marsh.

Soon we heard some chatter, looking up we saw Tree Swallow by the 100s, gorging themselves in insects.

A Red-shouldered Hawk was watching intently while Bald Eagle soared and floated through the air.
After following precise instructions from David - we finally made it to the large pond to observe the ducks, not an easy feat to say the least because the pond is surrounded by Mangroves - but so worth the effort.

Hundred of ducks were observed - several different kind (see E-Bird List)

I wondered who decides which way to go - we observed them going toward the north then turning and moving toward the south, all in unison for apparently no rhyme or reasons....just because.

We commented between ourselves how it couldn't be any better weather wise - we are so blessed to be living in S.W. Florida.

One of the Loggerhead Shrike against the clear blue sky.

A Greater Yellowleg -vocalizing "whew-whew-whew".

Marie & Gail - so grateful for their company and especially for sharing their knowledge with me.

Marie pointed us to the Avocets

Oh my! What a sweet sight this is!

Then Gail was so happy, she dropped down to her knees. Well, truth be told - she had a life time experience here and we were happy to be in her presence.

Marbled Godwits and Avocets - it doesn't get much better than this, does it?

Warning....several photos of the Avocets is following, sorry but I can't help myself.

 American Avocet - a sleek and graceful wader with long, slender bill and spindly legs. Avocets feed by sweeping their bills from side to side through the water. Fairly common on shallow ponds, marshes and lakeshores.

A Marbled Godwit with an American Avocet.

More Marbled Godwits.

Facing North - water very shallow over muddy ground - be careful where you step and make sure someone is with you just in case you need a hand to get out from sinking down to China.

Can you see the white dot in the middle of the picture? This is Marie getting a head start on us - this place is HUGE.

The Greater Yellowlegs were the subject of observation as we were making our way out of the flats.

Preening and resting in between feeding spree.

Some White Ibis in the background.

I feel blessed to be in the presence of these beautiful creatures and to be so close too.

This plant which attracts the teeny weeny butterfly is for my friend Libby who has been wanting to see one of them. Here it is Libby!
The butterfly is the smallest of them all, it is an Eastern Pygmy Blue, the plant is a Perennial Glasswort.
The Loggerhead Shrike - aka the butcher bird - has a snake dangling from the dead limb - ready for consumption.

Well, folks, this conclude this outing - I look forward to another visit in the very near future. Should you decide to venture there - Be Prepared! - bring water, sunscreen, bug spray, hat, waterproof hiking shoes, cell phone, compass and perhaps a flashlight should you get lost (not recommended).


  1. It is always especially fun to read about an unexplored venue, France. It's good to know that you were in great company. That sinking feeling was experienced at Harns a few years ago. Nice report.

  2. The avocet sure is a beautiful bird. Thanks for all the wonderful photos you post.