Birding and hiking on Florida’s Nature Coast brings excitement and nature together for those who love the outdoors. The silence in the woods is suddenly broken by a loud tock-tock-tock. These sounds accompany a fleeting glimpse of flying wood chips. These sounds startle the group of hikers passing through.
Birding and Hiking
“It’s a woodpecker” someone says. Expecting to see a downy woodpecker, the group spreads out. Its members start to quietly encircle the stately old oak from where the sound is coming. When they move around, maintaining their distance, so does the wily bird. It hops sideways along the dead branch it has been pecking trying to remain out of sight.
“Oh my,” exclaims one of the hikers who is at a vantage point. “It’s a pileated woodpecker.” Soon enough, the hikers train their binoculars in on the bird. They focus on the majestic seventeen inch, black, white and red-crested woodpecker. At last, the hikers move on along the Potts Preserve trail.
The Nature of the Nature Coast
Birding and Hiking in Citrus County is full of surprises. Myriad woodland and marshland trails will take the hikers and birders to areas of pristine scenery and abundant wildlife. There are interpretive trails like one at the Crystal River Preserve State Park where a hiker or a birder can experience the flora and fauna of the Nature Coast.
The list of possible sightings in this area is extensive. Over two hundred and fifty avian species have been sighted in this area. Birding and hiking in Citrus County offers such a wide variety of habitat that depending on the season and the specific habitat a particular species favors; a birder can add many species to their life list.
In the marshes and near-shore islands pelicans, cormorants and herons are common sights. The same area may produce sightings of wood ducks, roseate spoonbills, white ibises, gallinules and coots, as well several varieties of gulls and terns. Then there are some upland trails, like ones at the Flying Eagle Preserve that will produce sightings of owls, hawks and swallow-tailed kites and perhaps a bald eagle.
Reptiles of the Nature Coast
Hikers who enjoy seeing other wildlife, will be happy to know that birding and hiking in Citrus County can bring you in contact with fifty species of reptiles and amphibians. Not only that, over twenty-five different mammals.
By carefully examining plants and trees, hikers may find a green tree frog or a yellow rat snake stretched across a limb.
Also, most notably, gopher tortoises, munching on vegetation are a common sight on sandy uplands.
While hiking and birding in Citrus County one will come across a number of gray squirrels. With careful observation, one may also see the southern flying squirrel. While hiking along the old growth pines, their larger relative, the fox squirrel can be seen.
More secretive, although abundant, are both the gray fox and the bobcat.
Perhaps in the same furtive category one might glimpse a white-tailed deer or a feral pig. Raccoons, spotted or striped skunks, nine banded armadillos, opossums, marsh and cottontail rabbits are also common sights along many of our trails.
All in all, whether you enjoy hiking just for the sake of being outdoors in a natural unspoiled environment or birding along our nature trails to add new and rare species to your life list, birding and hiking in Citrus County will certainly fill the bill.
We at Coldwell Banker Next Generation Realty of Citrus will be happy to help you find the perfect home in this amazing community.