Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, Florida
Last Thursday, Howard and I took a walk down a path in the park.
We ran into a naturalist, on Wednesday when we arrived, and he told us about this path, saying he has seen Barred Owls in this area. We met him last year when we visited the park for the first time, and found him to be a real character and very knowledgeable.
I was sharing with him my lack of never having seen a Barred Owl in the wild. Saying, “it would be a nice Life List bird for me”. So off we go in search of this elusive owl.
It was a pleasant walk with temperatures just about perfect. The path we were walking on was slightly higher than the forest floor with swampy areas between us and the trees.
As we walked along enjoying the scenery, we saw something fly across the road up ahead of us. We tracked it to where we thought it entered the forrest. We were looking up into the trees and this Red-shouldered Hawk had landed on the ground next to the water. Seeing it standing there, near the water, was a surprise. It appeared to be digging in the moist earth. Of course as we approached it flew up into the trees.
Sadly, no Barred Owl sighting for me on this day, just a beautiful hawk. I will keep searching.
We continued, over the next 30 minutes or so, to watch this hawk as it hunted along this path. After observing, it fly into several different places and its behavior, I believe it was gathering nesting material; however, I can’t be sure.
Here are several photos as it flew from the ground to tree to tree.
The hawk flew to this stump and sat there looking around. Notice its muddy beak.
It took to higher ground landing on this tree branch.
This spot was near the ground; a low branch over the swamp.
Last location, was back into a tree. This photo is blurry, but it shows this beautiful Red-shouldered hawk snapping small twigs.