wildlife

Guardian of the Glades, Part 2

by TOBY BENOIT

During our last trip to the Everglades, my best hunting buddy, Meghan Bailes and I joined The Wildman, Dusty Crum, his long-time girlfriend Natalee Mckinney and fellow member of the South Florida Water Management District’s, Python Eradication Team, Greg Morris, for a night’s hunt, searching for wild Burmese pythons.  I had the pleasure of interviewing them about the plight of the Everglades and it’s native wildlife.  

Skyway Bridge Pelican Rescue

On May 30, 2019, at 5:10 PM, FHP Troopers responded to the call of an injured pelican atop the Sunshine Skyway Bridge along the southbound lanes.  The pelican had injured wings and was walking in the travel lanes.  Troopers and Road Rangers secured the pelican against the outside concrete barrier wall and transported the bird to the South Skyway Fishing Pier where wildlife rescue professionals took custody of the pelican to later transport the animal to Seaside Seabird Sanctuary in In

Wildfire Awareness Week

In 1998, Florida suffered one of the most devastating wildfires documented, with over 500,000 acres of forest and private lands devastated in Brevard County.

Within the last ten years, Hernando County has had over 270 fires, with 7,143 acres burning due to wildfires. Lightning is a significant factor in causing wildfires.

In 2017, Hernando County and much of the state was in a drought. A front went through Hernando Beach and lightning struck in Weekiwachee Preserve causing a wildfire.

The Osceola Wild Turkey

The Osceola Wild Turkey was named after the famous Seminole Chief Osceola in 1890 and can be found only in Florida.  These wild turkeys thrive in open terrain of longleaf pine forests, oaks and grasslands habitats.

Wild turkeys were once abundant in Florida. In 1860, it was estimated that there were more turkeys than humans.  Wild turkey populations declined throughout the country due to over harvesting and habitat loss, but populations remained healthy in Florida- due to the area's inhospitable environment.  

State of Florida seeks private partnerships for Gopher Tortoise conservation

According to the U.S. census in 2010, the population in Hernando County was estimated at 172,000 and seven years later that number rose to 186,000.

The rise of the population means more land development which in turn means more wildlife habitat lost especially for one particular species that holds an extremely valuable place in our ecosystem: The Florida Gopher Tortoise.

On Bayou Drive

Hernando County is a great place to fish, with a mixture of fresh brackish water to the wide-open Gulf. Anglers can enjoy casting off at Jenkins Fishing Pier, Linda Pedersen Park and Bayport Park. These areas are also fantastic spots for nature photographers to capture those scenic sunsets and Great Egrets flying over the marshland. 

There is a favorite spot that I like to go to photograph. It’s a quiet little place with a variety of wading birds; pleasant for early morning walkers and bicyclists. This place is on Bayou Drive in Weeki Wachee, FL.

Program aids rescue of sea turtle

Florida Sea Grant, UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County has recently partnered with the Loggerhead Marinelife Center to expand the Responsible Pier Initiative to Hernando County. Since its launch in 2013, the program has aided in the rescue of over 300 turtles and the removal of over 4,000 pounds of marine debris. Over 53 piers from Texas to Virginia, including Puerto Rico, have joined this program. On Thursday, Sept.

Building a Platform Fit for an Osprey

by Linda Vanderveen and Dennis Capaz
organized by Alice Mary Herden
Photography by Alice Mary Herden, Linda Vanderveen and Dennis Capaz

Osprey Photo by Alice Mary Herden

In March 2016 the Hernando Audubon Society with help from Withlacoochee Electric erected a 40 foot osprey perch at Linda Pederson Park.  The perch is intended for ospreys to use as a nesting site. Linda Vanderveen and Dennis Capaz from the Hernando Audubon were huge supporters of this project.  In this article they detail how the osprey perch came to be and some interesting facts about this graceful bird of prey.

OSPREY FACTS
Ospreys are found by water, including ponds, lakes, rivers, or coastal areas. They are impressive with their 5-6 foot wingspan.