Friday, September 16, 2016

Feature: Sawgrass Lake Park Pt. I

It required a single visit to Sawgrass Lake Park in Pinellas County to consider it one of my favorite wildlife venues in Florida.


The Anhinga above (image 1) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.

Sawgrass Lake Park, north of downtown St. Petersburg and southwest of Tampa, was created primarily to manage stormwater flooding in the adjacent city of Pinellas Park. A small waterfall in fact could be seen flowing into Sawgrass Lake while looking in the direction of Pinellas Park from the lake's observation tower.


The Blackburnian Warbler with prey above (image 2) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker above (image 3) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Common Grackle above (image 4) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.

This park was not originally on my radar in early planning for a Fall migration trip from Fort Myers with birding bud, Tom Obrock. The initial thought was to make a trip to Miami's A. D. Barnes Park with unfavorable weather persistent, and then Fort De Soto Park considered with hopes of seeing migrating birds.


The Blackburnian Warbler above (image 5) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Blackburnian Warbler above (image 6) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Prairie Warbler above (image 7) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.

Trumpeter Swan, reported earlier at Eagle Lake Park immediately southeast of Clearwater, was on my mind when deciding at the last minute to make Sawgrass Lake Park the primary destination with its potential for something unusual. Hurricane Hermine had made impressive checklists at Sawgrass Lake Park in the days preceding our visit.


The Prairie Warbler above (image 8) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Prairie Warbler above (image 9) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Northern Parula above (image 10) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.

It required a 5:00am departure from Fort Myers for Tom and I to arrive at the park shortly after sunrise. The traffic on I-75 seemed unusually heavy to me on this 6 September journey. Shortly before arriving at the park we approached what could have become a catastrophic accident on the interstate. I will be getting a dashcam soon.


The Black-and-white Warbler above (image 11) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Yellow Warbler above (image 12) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Northern Parula with prey above (image 13) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.

There were already a few cars parked at the visitor's facilities when we arrived. I noticed that a couple of people with binoculars and cameras were walking back toward the entrance to the park. They obviously knew something that we didn't.


The Northern Parula with prey above (image 14) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Northern Parula above (image 15) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Tufted Titmouse above (image 16) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.

Tom and I opted to traverse the boardwalk that meanders into the Red Maple swamp first. We soon found that the Maple Trail portion of the boardwalk was closed perhaps due to storm damage from Hurricane Hermine. A park worker advised that entering the closed area would result in a one year banishment from the park if caught.


The Worm-eating Warbler above (image 17) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Worm-eating Warbler above (image 18) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Yellow-throated Warbler above (image 19) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.

Shortly after passing the intersection of the Sawgrass and Maple Trails we encountered birds. Mainly Blackburnian Warbler which was a life bird for me. A Golden Silk Orb-weaver was motionless in its web in this area as well.


The Yellow-throated Warbler above (image 20) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Yellow-throated Warbler above (image 21) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Yellow-throated Warbler above (image 22) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.

Continuing on to the observation tower resulted in an unexpectedly quiet walk. There was also a near complete absence of birds flying over the lake although many waders could be seen foraging on the far side with a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks perched on a distant fence. A scope would have been useful here.


The Yellow-throated Warbler above (image 23) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Hooded Warbler above (image 24) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.


The Red-eyed Vireo above (image 25) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.

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The Summer Tanager above (image 26) was photographed at Sawgrass Lake Park in September 2016.

Please also see Feature: Sawgrass Lake Park Part II

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for visiting "my backyard" and posting your beautiful photos!

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    1. Thank you. Your backyard is a birder's delight.

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  2. Great post!
    Stunning Pictures of lovely birds!
    greetings,
    Maria

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    1. Thank you, Maria. You must plan to visit this and surrounding venues during migration.

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  3. A stunning collection of warblers, Bob -- loved the Worm-eating, Blackburnian and Hooded Warblers! Can't believe I've been oblivious to this hotspot all this time! Great work!

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    1. Thank you, Hemant. You will consider this venue well worth the drive.

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