Places to Explore

Ollie’s Pond

When everything was shut down for a Covid-19, I decided it was a good time to check out some local birding hot spots.  Ollie’s Pond is one of those places I put off going to because I didn’t think it would be all that exciting. It’s just a big pond in the middle of a neighborhood.  My expectations were pretty low.  I was pleasantly surprised!  The first time I went, I saw seventeen species of birds. Not a huge number, but it was a fun variety.  Yesterday, there weren’t quite as many birds, but the few I did see were pretty exciting. There were black-necked stilts, white pelicans, and a roseate spoonbill, along with the usual suspects like red-winged blackbirds and osprey.

There’s really not much to this small county park.  There are no amenities, and there’s no fee.  It’s just about a mile around the pond, with a couple of benches.  The park is also dog-friendly, which my Rocco appreciates!

My short and sweet review: it’s a great place to see a good variety of birds and the occasional alligator, but I wouldn’t go too far out of my way for a visit.  If you’re nearby, it’s definitely worth checking out.

White pelicans with a black-necked stilt flyover. There’s also a great blue heron hiding in the reeds to the left. He gives a good size comparison for the white pelicans. One of the largest birds in North America, the American white pelican’s wing span is nine feet!
Just a nice little view.
We didn’t see any alligators this day, but we did last time. A good rule of thumb is to just expect there to be alligators in any body of freshwater in Florida.
There are a couple of little bridges in the park. It was dry under them, but I’m sure that’s not the case in the rainy season.
Who’s hiding way up there?
A couple of great blue heron nestlings are getting huge and look just about ready to leave the nest.
Those pelicans look sleepy. One lone roseate spoonbill stopped by for a visit.
Looks like he’s taking a nap too.
It may not be a huge lake, but it really is pretty! It was nice of the rain to give us a little break.
One of several great blue herons. They’re such patient hunters!
There were a lot of juvenile white ibis. Have you ever seen juveniles? They start off almost completely brown and gradually become pure white over a couple of years.
Osprey hanging out in the treetops.
Did you know osprey were once highly endangered due to the use of DDT (a pesticide that caused egg shells to be too thin to be viable)? Banning DDT in 1972 in the US contributed to a great rebound success story for these birds.

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