About Lakeside Ranch STA
On an early Saturday morning in April, I went on an amazing birding excursion at Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area (STA). South Florida Water Management District manages the approximately 2,700 acre site which is available for visitors on foot or on a bicycle. Its main function is to improve water quality flowing into Lake Okeechobee. Audubon of Martin County conducts educational outreach at the site because of the amazing abundance of birds that flock to it. The best time of year to visit is usually wintertime when birds are migrating, but I knew my trip there would be worthwhile. Audubon of Martin County regularly conducts birding excursions at the site. Learn more about their birding programs online.
Birding with John Nelson
I met up with my friend John Nelson who is one of the best birders I have ever met. I first met John in 2011 when he took one of my Florida Master Naturalist courses. His love for Florida’s environment grew and he became President of Audubon of Martin County. He is also creator of the Audubon Moment. I knew I was in for a special treat with John’s expertise. I wrote a blog “Florida Master Naturalist 20th Anniversary Graduate Spotlight on John Nelson – Creator of the Audubon Moment” if you want to learn more about John.
Of course, nothing goes completely as planned. My original intention was to bring our UF/IFAS Extension St. Lucie County video camera equipment to shoot some video on site. I forgot it at the office and I did not have time to retrieve it. Fortunately, John had a spotting scope he let me use. The photos in the blog below were taken using my iPhone 12 through John’s spotting scope. The birding was amazing. John mentioned that we should do this again when migrating birds are over-wintering in the STA. Sign me up!!
So what birds did we see?
There was an abundance of birds at Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area. White pelicans were plentiful as were great egret, gallinules, red winged black birds, osprey, stilts, grackles, snail kites, snowy egret, and more. Birders can head out to the site with a good camera and scope and probably see many more than I listed here.