This week's featured nominee for Audubon's Florida's Special Places campaign comes from our own Dr. Paul Gray, the Science Coordinator for our Lake Okeechobee Watershed Program. His nominee is for Scrub Pens Road in Highlands County, Florida. Thank you, Dr. Gray, for your nomination! And remember, you can nominate your special place on our Facebook Page or by emailing our office.
Dr. Paul Gray:
One of my favorite places is unspectacular and generally unnoticed by passers-by. It’s a short, quiet side-road, very near my home that runs through cattle pasture lands with small wetland basins along side. I drive it at least weekly to see what the water levels are and what birds are coming and going.
These wetlands have more bird life than most realize. They have the most diversity when wet, but hold interest when dry as well--American Pipits, Meadowlarks, Sparrows and others like the drier stages. A Peregrine Falcon caught and ate a blackbird on a fence post on January 9 this year.
A Killdeer and Black-necked Stilt tending their nests on the road shoulder. Who delivered the beer bottle is unknown, but might have helped keep cars from squashing them. Other wetland-related breeders along Scrub Pens Road have included Mottled Ducks, Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Common Moorhens, Purple Gallinules, Sandhill Cranes, and Green Herons.