Ollie’s and the Rookery

March 7, 2019

Sometimes, when Mel and I go out for a walk, we have to decide whether it will be a ‘regular walk’ or a ‘picture  walk’;  whether to take our cameras or leave them at home. Taking them means that there will probably be hours and hours worth of sorting, cropping and editing pictures later.  Plus, the walk will be very slow and not exactly aerobic! But, not taking them means that we’ll miss out on examining all the interesting details of the things we find and joy of sharing what we find with others. So, we took them with us today on our long out of town trek to Ollie’s Pond in Port Charlotte, and the Venice Rookery in Venice.

I think this is a Cooper’s Hawk
Four Spotted Skimmer

To get to Port Charlotte, we battled 85 miles of glacially slow traffic. We went there mostly to check out our rental place for next year, but Ollie’s Pond is close by and is a place that Mel and I loved visiting last year. We hoped to at least find a great horned owl and her babies like we did last year. 

Mockingbird with a deformed beak

Not long into our walk around the pond, that’s exactly what happened! Mel spotted a very large great horned owl high up in one of the trees near where we had seen one before! Unfortunately, though, we never found any babies.

Mel’s Great Horned Owl

From Port Charlotte, we drove to Englewood to track down a friend from Michigan who was running a new seafood business (Twin Lobsters), then on to visit the Venice Rookery–a favorite place of ours from our winter in Florida last year.

Great White Egret at the Venice Rookery

“A rookery is a colony of breeding animals, generally birds. Rooks – northern-European and central-Asian members of the crow family – nest in prominent colonies at the tops of trees. The word applies to the nesting place of birds, such as crows and rooks, the source of the term.”

This poor little Great Blue Heron was squawking all the time –to no avail it seems. He was the smallest of two babies in the nest and probably won’t survive. I felt sorry for him!!

The rookery in Venice is a small island in a small pond that’s teeming with great blue herons, egrets, cormorants, anhingas and all their noisy babies. The island is a beehive of activity with adult birds flying in and out bringing in nesting materials or food, cormorants, and anhingas swimming in the pond below looking for fish, and baby birds squawking to be fed (also the occasional alligator swimming below hoping one of the babies will fall in!) Needless to say, the rookery is very popular with birders and photographers alike, as well as casual observers who just come to walk around the pond or sit and watch from the nearby shelter.

Young Great Blue Heron
Beauty Berry

We didn’t get to stay at either Ollie’s Pond or the Rookery as long as we would have liked because it was a long drive home and the dogs would be waiting…

Whistling Ducks

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