I52. Sawgrass Island Preserve
SiteID: E52 (new)
Nearest City: Grand Island
Phone Number: 352-343-3777
Website: I52. Sawgrass Island Preserve
Features/Amenities: Birding by foot/hiking, Birding by bicycle, Best time of day: Both morning and evening, Recommended length of visit: all day, Horseback riding br>
Habitats: Freshwater Swamp, Freshwater Marsh/Wetlands, Field/Pasture, Pines, Lake/Pond/Impoundment, Hardwoods/Mixed Forest
Located at the north end of Lake Yale, this preserve has an impressive 600-acre sawgrass marsh, plus additional wetlands home to resident Florida Sandhill Cranes, Northern Harriers (winter) and wading birds such as Little Blue Herons and Glossy Ibises. Six multi-use loop trails meander around three sides of the marsh through varied and well-maintained habitats, including mesic and xeric hardwood hammock, pine flatwoods, shrub/brushland and pasture. Multiple ponds attract waterfowl such as Ring-necked Ducks and Blue-winged Teal in winter, plus shorebirds such as Wilson’s Snipe and Killdeer. Oaks and other hardwoods shelter Great Horned Owls and Pileated Woodpeckers year-round. Watch and listen for winter songbirds such as Blue-headed Vireos, Eastern Phoebes and Gray Catbirds. Be sure to check the pasture and open areas on the perimeter for Eastern Bluebirds, American Kestrels and Sharp-shinned Hawks, all of which feed here. Florida Scrub-Jays (rare) are occasionally found near the entrance and southwest side of the preserve. Two primitive campsites are available by permit only (call for details), and guided group tours can be arranged with advance notice. Mosquitoes can be prevalent in warm weather. Bring plenty of water and sun protection.
Directions: From the intersection of SR 19 and CR 450 in Umatilla, head west on CR 450/W. Ocala St. for 6.9 mi. Take a left (south) at SE 237th Ct./Thomas Boat Landing Rd. and go 1.3 mi. to Sawgrass Island Rd. Turn left (east); the preserve is 0.2 mi. ahead.
Open all year, 8 AM to sunset.
Location: 28.946631, -81.757525