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Updated: 03/14/2014 08:06:15AM

Back to the Calusa Trail on Pine Island

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By Abby Banks

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Thirteen members of the Venice Area Birding Association descended on the Calusa Trail with eager interest. Many of the group had never been to Pine Island, so the entire birding field trip was a new adventure. I’d been to this site several weeks back investigating the trail specifically for this field trip. I must say, I was happy with the results of this trip. Birders already know that one day can make a huge difference in bird sightings. On days like this, I think of a song by Rod Stewart called “What a Difference a Day Makes.”

Three cars piled into the parking lot of the beautiful Randall Research Center grounds where the Calusa Trail is located. We started our hike heading to Brown’s Mound. Naturally, none of the dozens of warblers we encountered earlier were to be found on this trip. We did hear and sight quite a few blue-gray gnatcatchers. Off in the distance we heard an osprey screeching. We sighted a mix of black vultures with a few red-shouldered hawks catching the wind currents. On this particular day, the wind was almost bending the trees.

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