The Rookery




Birding in Southwest Florida is popular year round. The Rookery, a small island near the center of a quiet pond behind Sarasota County's South County Building on busy U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail near Jacaranda Blvd.) has long been a birding hot spot. A variety of large shore birds nest on the island, including great blue herons, glossy ibis, great egrets, anhingas and night herons. A call for volunteers has gone out to help restore the vegetation on the outer shore of the pond. Dozens of Brazilian Peppers have been ripped out as part of an effort to get rid of the unwanted invasive species, so the shoreline is looking rather naked. The island itself retains thick vegetation. There is picnic shelter in front of the pond to shade one from the sun and to protect visitors from an unexpected rainstorm. A little more than a block from WalMart with a busy shopping center nearby, this quiet spot comes as a surprise to many tourists.

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