Five local nature spots to see

/
  • Natural6

    Sanibel author Charles Sobczak signed copies of his book recently at Elsie Quirk Library in Englewood.

    Nature writer Charles Sobczak's favorites

    H-T columnist Eric Ernst interviewed nature author Charles Sobczak about his five can’t-miss park and preserve destinations in Sarasota and Charlotte counties. Click through this slide show to see which spots he picked.

    Click here to read Eric's column about Charles Sobczak.

     

  • Natural1

    Park manager Tony Clements looks for a family of Florida Scrub Jays at Oscar Scherer State Park in Sarasota on Wednesday, Nov 14, 2012.  (Herald-Tribune staff photo by Elaine Lithe

    rland)
    Oscar Scherer State Park

    Oscar Scherer State Park, 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, (941) 483-5956. Campers flock to this park, whose 1,400 acres provide a welcome respite in what is a fairly well-developed area. One of the big attractions is the concentration of endangered Florida scrub jays, as well as other creatures and trails for hikers and bikers.

  • Natural2

    St. Petersburg-based photographer Larry M. Lynch took this photograph of an American Alligator at dusk in Myakka River State Park in Sarasota in 2011.

    Myakka River State Park

    Myakka River State Park, 13208 State Road 72, Sarasota, (941) 361-6511. What’s not to like about 37,000 acres where visitors can experience boat tours, camping, hiking, horse-riding, canoeing and biking? The wildlife, plant and animal, runs the gamut of native fare in a number of habitats. The park’s highlight may be a canopy walkway, culminating in a 74-foot observation tower.

  • Natural3

    A bald eagle watches over its young in a nest at Cedar Point Environmental Park in 2009. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune photo by Dan Wagner)

    Cedar Point Environmental Park

    Cedar Point Environmental Park, 2300 Placida Road, Englewood, (941) 475-0769. “From mangroves to pine flatwoods to a well-stocked learning center, Cedar Point is an excellent example of just how much can be done with a relatively small piece of real estate,” Sobczak wrote. The park features an active eagles’ nest estimated at one ton.

  • Natural4

    In this file photo from 2001, Denny Sovers of Fort Myers patiently waits for the perfect shot of a Great Blue Heron at the Venice Area Audubon Rookery.

    Venice Area Audubon Society Rookery

    Venice Area Audubon Society Rookery, 4002 S. Tamiami Trail at Annex Road, Venice, (941) 496-8984. This is not a classic park. It’s essentially a viewing area for nesting birds, a lot of birds. And the island where they nest is close enough that even point-and-shoot pictures can come out looking like professional photos. The prime nesting season is January through March.

  • Natural5

    A small bird finds water to its liking at Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area

    Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area

    Babcock/Webb Wildlife Management Area, Tucker’s Grade, an east turn off I-75 Exit 158, (863) 648-3200. Its 80,335 acres are home to two rare bird species, the Bachmann sparrow and the red cockaded woodpecker. The cavity trees occupied by the latter are marked with paint for easy spotting. The park is also popular for hunting and fishing.