We had quite a few days of chilly, windy weather in the first half of February, and I had a bit of a concern about Venice Area Birding Association’s birding field trip to Ollie’s Pond that I was leading. However, there was no need for concern —when the day arrived, it was sunny and beautiful. We are so lucky to live in the land of sunshine. A dozen people met to car pool and were off to Ollie’s Pond Park in Charlotte County. The pond is in a small park nestled in a residential neighborhood in Charlotte County. In the winter, ducks are attracted to the quiet, calm water. This is a little treasure of a park, and it is always enjoyable to walk the circumference of Ollie’s Pond observing the birds and listening to their songs in the woods.
We scoped out the pond immediately upon arrival and saw hundreds of ducks and waders feeding on the sandbars and along the perimeter. Immediately, we became excited to see hooded mergansers. We also spotted greater and lesser yellowlegs, glossy ibis, great egrets and moorhens. Overhead, we watched tree swallows dipping and diving across the sky catching insects on the wing. We stopped to watch an eastern phoebe hawk for insects from a branch over the water. We also spotted many palm warblers and some yellow-rumped warblers. A blue-gray gnatcatcher flitted around in the bushes.
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