Spruce Bluff is home for some

Nesting bird, Florida style.

I was lucky to spot this Sandhill Crane at Spruce Bluff Preserve in Port St. Lucie. It was my first visit to Spruce Bluff and my first nesting sandhill crane.

Spruce Bluff Preserve LOCATION and INFORMATION.

From the parking area at this 97-acre county-owned park, one trail goes north and the other south. I went south.

Next time I will do the self-guided interpretative trail and pay attention to the numbers. This day the theme was Birds and New Place. Just looking, not reading a trail guide.

I walked a dry, sandy trail through pine flatwoods at first.

Then there was a boardwalk over wetlands.

Looking off to the right, I could just make out the form of the crane. Superzoom camera got me closer.

Sandhill Cranes breed in open wetland habitats surrounded by shrubs or trees. They nest in marshes, bogs, wet meadows, prairies, burned-over aspen stands, and other moist habitats, preferring those with standing water.

Nests are simple, mound-like platforms made of marsh plants, grasses, and weeds piled on the ground in marshes or wet meadows. Larger material forms the foundation of the nest while smaller stems or twigs form and line the egg cup. Both parents may gather material from the immediate area and toss it over their shoulders to form a mound, and in an area with emergent aquatic vegetation will form a characteristic vegetation-free “pluck-zone” surrounding the nest.

The female is generally the one to arrange the materials on the mound to form the nest. Their nests may be four to five feet in diameter. Throughout incubation, the incubating adult may add small amounts of material and continually rearrange the nest.

So pleasant to rest my eyes on this scene, after driving through the urban madness – especially Route 1/ Federal Highway. If you live around here, you know what I mean.

Woodsy part of the trail.

I was here the same day I visited River Park Marina and the weather was just perfect, warm and dry and a little breezy. Florida at its friendliest. Since then we have had some, let’s just say, DRAMATIC weather.

But you can’t have the wetlands if you don’t have the wet. And the tornados aren’t usually very big and the hail melts fast in Florida.

A little sad to think that this lovely mix of woods and water, like the nearby “savannas,” is what Port St. Lucie used to be, before the canals and fill-dirt and roads and houses. But that’s how we humans build our nests.

Exploring a new trail, looking for birds, living the dream.

A New Trail A Day For a Year would be a fun blog project. Maybe someday.

Saw palmetto in bloom, a pointy plant.

The trail circles around a prehistoric Indian mound. You can’t see it very well, and you must not climb up on it, but allow yourself a spooky little feeling of a lost past.

Before the county bought this preserve, 60 homes were planned and platted for this site.

Save more, save more! counties, states and nations.

On the side of the trail where the land rose up to the top of the mound, a Great Blue Heron swept down from the sky and landed on a pine limb.

I will visit this place again.

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