ZZ84. Chipola River Greenway: Butler Tract (NEW)
Nearest City: Marianna
Features/Amenities: Not a primary Trail site, but worth a visit if you are in the area, Bird by ear/Sites best for those with ability to ID bird calls the area, Birding by foot/hiking, Best time of day: Both morning and evening, Recommended length of visit: quick stop br>
Habitats: Freshwater Swamp, Field/Pasture, River/Stream/Spring/Canal, Hardwoods/Mixed Forest
Located in a quiet subdivision on the north side of Marianna, the 110-acre Butler Tract is another tranquil segment of the Chipola River Greenway good for wildlife watching. Floodplain forest is the dominant habitat type here; some pines are also present where the soils are higher and drier. Watch for Brown Thrasher in the brush near the parking area; a variety of other songbirds such as Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher may be present near the trailhead also. The nearly 2-mile loop trail through the lush riparian woodlands can yield anything from White Ibis to Mississippi Kite to Summer Tanager. Linger awhile at the first river vista and you can easily imagine an Ivory-billed Woodpecker winging its way through the cypresses not so very long ago; this magnificent species persisted on the river in neighboring Calhoun County until at least 1951. Be alert for the sounds of Broad-winged Hawk, Barred Owl, Acadian Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Northern Parula as you wander along the river. Listen also for the melodious, high-pitched calls of the aptly-named Bird-voiced Treefrog, whose range in Florida is limited to the western Panhandle. Crayfish “chimneys” are noticeable along the trail as well; burrowing species build these tubes from pellets of mud as they excavate their homes in the ground. Butterfly watchers may search for Red-spotted Purple, Hackberry Emperor and Phaon Crescent; other wildlife species such as American Alligator, Green Anole and Northern Raccoon can be seen as well. Be advised that portions of the trail can be wet at times, and that the use of recordings to attract birds is prohibited at this location.
Directions: From I-10 southeast of Marianna, take exit 142 for SR 71 and go north for 1.8 mi. Turn left (northwest) onto US 90/SR 71/SR 10/Lafayette St. and drive 2.8 mi. towards downtown Marianna. Turn right (north) at Noland St. and proceed 0.7 mi. to the parking area on the right (east) side of the road, across from Butler Ave.
Open all year, sunrise to sunset.
Location: 30.784436° N, -85.221353° W