In spite of the cool and overcast day, thirteen people showed up for a 3 mile walk on the Barnett Creek Trail. Because of the distance, it was meant to be a walk in nature, rather than a walk to identify plants and animals. This trail is one of my favorites because it passes through a number of habitats and wildlife sightings are common. Part of the trail is along the Barnett Creek Road, through mixed woodland, some freshwater swamp and alongside a salt marsh. The trail continues on an old logging road behind one of the Refuge gates and continues for another two miles through the mixed deciduous woods and swamp.
Because of the weather, I did not have high hopes of wildlife sightings, but the trail surprised me. We saw over a dozen different kinds of birds, including warblers, kinglets, woodpeckers, a sapsucker, wrens, and a hawk. The biggest surprise, especially because of the very cool and gray weather, was a Pygmy Rattlesnake lying in the middle of the trail. It was thin but definitely alive and alert! We had a good look (mostly through binoculars!!) and all who desired to were able to get plenty of pictures of this beautiful snake. Thanks to Ed DeHaan for this fabulous picture! Ed was able to get a good close-up with his special camera lens.
It was another great walk in the woods! Please join me for our next nature walk in the Cedar Key Scrub on January 28. Because of ongoing controlled burns in the Scrub adjacent to SR 24, we will walk in the Scrub section along CR 347. Those who wish to carpool from Cedar Key, meet me, Donna Thalacker, at the Cedar Key Park parking lot near the beach at 8:30. Or meet at the Cedar Key Scrub along CR347 entrance parking lot around 8:45. If you wish additional information, call 352-543-6738.