Blackwater Fisheries Research and Development Center

8384 Fish Hatchery Rd., Holt, 32564
(850) 957-6177
Mondays-Fridays, 7:30am to 4:00pm

martin gourds

Nestled in the Blackwater River State Forest’s uplands, this fish hatchery is an oasis for birds. Stop at the visitor center to check the sightings log and to pick up a checklist. Walk the dikes between the aquaculture ponds, looking for wintering ducks such as Ring-necked Ducks and Blue-winged Teal. Wilson’s Snipe feed along the muddy edges. During spring migration several species of shorebird are regularly spotted including, Semipalmated and Solitary Sandpiper. Forster’s Terns and Northern Rough-winged Swallows skim over the ponds and there is a healthy colony of nesting Purple Martins; visit between April and July to enjoy the martins. Northern Bobwhites and Wild Turkeys are common in the adjacent forest and wooded fields. Bachman’s Sparrows and Brown-headed Nuthatches are fairly common, Orchard Orioles nest and Henslow’s Sparrow has been recorded in the winter.

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