January 12, 2013 · 7:30 AM
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Birders have flocked to the Celery Fields, just east of I-75 and south of Fruitville Road, for years. Sarasota County bought the farmland in 1992 as part of a wetlands project and in 2011, reshaped it into a multi-use park and wildlife preserve.
The 300+ acre park is also the County's primary storm water collection zone, with 100 acres restored from farmland back to wetlands. More than 20,000 aquatic plants and trees have been planted, and two boardwalks have been installed. Sarasota Audubon plans to build a nature center to highlight the open marshlands, deep ponds, shallow pools and canals.
Bird surveys at the Celery Fields since 2001 have recorded 216 species. The Fields also host breeding birds. Least Terns breed on nearby buildings and use the ponds as a primary food source. Rarities show up from time to time, including Upland and White-rumped Sandpipers, Short-eared Owl and Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow.
Orange Audubon will have a local expert (from Sarasota Audubon) showing us the "best" spots.
Cost and Details:
There is a field trip fee of $10 per person/Audubon members and $15 per person/non-Audubon members payable to Orange Audubon Society. Participants should register by contacting Teresa ([masked] or[masked]). Driving directions and contact information will be provided by Teresa.
If you are not yet a member of Orange Audubon Society and would like to join for $20, go to our website www.orangeaudubonfl.org and look on the left column where it says Join Us. There are many member benefits, as the membership goes for Orange Audubon, Audubon Florida, and National Audubon at the same time.
There are a lot of places to stay overnight. The closest to the Celery Fields is AmericInn Sarasota Hotel, 5931 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, 34232 ([masked] or[masked]). Participants should make their own hotel reservations.
We hope you will join us!