Rarity. This Hooded Oriole, photographed in the preserve in December 2019, was only the third of its species to have been seen in Florida.
Grasshopper Sparrow. From 2008 through 2017, sparrows were captured and banded in a grassy area within the preserve. The research study demonstrated that the same bird will return to the same spot in subsequent winters, a behavior known as site fidelity.
You must contact the trip leader to reserve your spot. Masks required. We observe social distancing.
Meet at 8 a.m. at the entrance gate at 2345 Osowaw Blvd., Spring Hill.
We will walk about two miles on trails to look for songbirds, and drive to the end of the road to look for water birds.
When a limerock mine closed in coastal Hernando County, the area now known as Weekiwachee Preserve was slated to become a housing development. After a large public outcry in opposition, Southwest Florida Water Management District began purchasing the property in 1993. Subsequent acquisitions have increased the size to 11,206 acres.
The main section of this property is a mix of xeric scrub, sandhill, and pine flatwood communities surrounding several deep lakes that were dug during limerock mining.
After the property was opened for public access, 260 species of birds have been sighted on the preserve, as well as 74 species of butterflies, in addition to larger animals such as black bear, deer, bobcats, coyotes, and rabbits, as well as gopher tortoises, a variety of snakes and other critters. Recent bird rarities include the third state record of a Hooded Oriole seen by scores of birders in December 2019.
All photos by courtesy of Bev Hansen
Gray Catbirds are fond of the dense, shrubby vegetation found in parts of the preserve.
Sedge Wrens can be found occasionally in the tall grasses and sedges bordering the ponds and wetlands.
Field Trip Guidelines
Fields trips are open to everyone interested in birding. Non-members are welcome.
We suggest comfortable clothing, insect repellent, suncreen, and water or other suitable beverages.
At right: Muhly grass colors one of the open fields. This is an area where wintering sparrows were banded for research.