This county-owned flood mitigation area was built in the 1990s on a former agricultural site, and it has proven to be one of the premier birding hotspots on the southwest coast with over 240 species seen. Be sure to visit Sarasota Audubon’s nature center, which is located in the heart of the Celery Fields. Pick up an Audubon Activity Schedule or sign up for a birding class or a workshop. The site’s landscape offers long-range vistas of flooded fields, freshwater marsh and open water. As a result, birders scoping from the gazebo or walking the berm trail system around the retention ponds can spot waders such as herons and egrets, ducks and grebes on the water, and everything from sparrows to harriers over the grassy fields. Florida specialties recorded at the fields include Snail Kite, Roseate Spoonbill, Sandhill Crane, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, Mottled Duck, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, and Bald Eagle. Rarities such as Cinnamon Teal, Groove-billed Ani and Yellow-headed Blackbird have all been recorded in recent years. This site is a must visit if you live in or are planning a visit to SW Florida.