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Birding and More at Oscar Scherer State Park

January 24-31, 2018                                                                            Most Recent Posts:
Oscar Scherer State Park                                                        From 26 to 81 Degrees In Florida?
Osprey, Florida                                                 Hiking and Kayaking Beside and on the Beautiful Hillsborough River

IMG_9766On Wednesday we traveled 81 miles south down I-75 from Hillsborough River State Park to Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, Florida.  We usually stop here every winter and you can find out more about our stays by putting Oscar Scherer in the search bar at the top left of this post.

Many of Florida’s parks are older and this one is no exception.  The beauty of that is the wonderful foliage between the sites.  You definitely feel as though you are camped in a Scrub Pine forest and not on top of your neighbor.

This park has a lot of activities planned and carried out by their friends organzation.  There is something and often several things, every single day.  Among these is a Thursday morning bird walk led by a member of the Venice Audubon Society.  Of course I went along.


It was a bigger group than I was expecting.  Several people were members of this local Audubon society, lived nearby and regular participants in this weekly walk.  One of them spotted this great horned owl back off the trail in a pine tree.   Gotta love those ears.


We saw several yellow rumped warblers, also known as  butter butt.


But what we were all here for was to see the endangered Florida Scrub Jay.  They are just the cutest and friendliest birds and it is so sad how scarce their habitat is becoming.  Oscar Scherer is one of the Florida parks whose habitat is dedicated to and tailored for them.

We spotted this sentinel keeping guard on top of a snag.  Notice he has at least 3 bands around his leg.   These birds are studied perhaps over much.

They are very curious.

The other main attraction was this year’s eagle’s nest.  The park has had a pair of nesting eagles for a number of years.  At least 10.  They have always returned to the same nest year after year.

But this year, they built a new nest.  It seems the male was killed last year but the chicks were old enough that the female was able to raise them on her own.   Everyone at the park wondered if  they would even have eagles this year.   Sure enough, she returned with a new mate and I guess that was cause for a new nest.

Personally I like the old nest better.  It’s in a live pine; the new nest in a snag. 



Today all we saw was an adult, no juveniles.  But later in the week I did see them.


Bird watching is probably my favorite thing to do here but people watching in parks is always great fun.  Those who read my last post may remember the enormous teddy bear and the bathrobe wearing dog walker.   This time I was amused by the cell phone walkers.  They actually went out on the trail doing this.  Aren’t they old enough to know better?

Speaking of that bear from the ast post, I went with David one day to pick up some of his prescriptions and look who I found just waiting to be some one’s Valentine.  Is he cute or what?  And he can be yours for on $95 including tax at the Osprey Walmart.


My favorite neighbors are the Choutkos in their 1962 Shasta.  She told me this had been her family’s camper when she was a kid.   When they no longer used it,  her parents kept it out behind their house and when they died, she and her husband completely restored it.  Mostly her husband she said.  He took it down to the bones.   It’s just amazing both inside and out.



Obviously they are kindred spirits.  Look who is their mascot.

Later in the week we went to Nokomis Groves to get some Florida oranges.   I absolutely love the mural on the side of their building. 


We were too late in the season for the Honey Belles but the 1/4 bushel of Navel Oranges we bought were delicious.  We particularly like that Nokomis Groves grows their own oranges.


Saturday night we went to Nokomis Beach for the Drumming Down of the Sun.  We try to do this every week.  Sometimes twice if we think of it.   The Nokomis Drum Circle does this every Wednesday and Saturday.   AND, there is free parking which is a rarity further south at the beaches in Florida.


It was a fairly muted sunset but the party went on.


Even the full moon put in an appearance.

The park has a Saturday night campfire and ranger talk.  This week was about the carnivorous plants that populate some of the large low wet spots in the park off the yellow trail.


It’s my custom here at Oscar Scherer to go out on the Green Trail every morning early. 

It’s just beautiful and who knows what I might see.


I almost always see at least one of the resident mockingbirds or catbirds.  Unlike many of the other birds they are willing to pose for pictures.



Sometimes I go see the Eagles first and other times last.   This time one of last year’s chicks was sitting on the nest.  This year’s hatchling is behind him to the right.  I guess it’s sort of like a toddler when a new baby comes.  “Hey Mom, what about me?”.


One parent is keeping an eye on this situation as the older ones have been known to attack the younger.


Seems like they are “having words”.   Wanna bet it’s something  like “you’re supposed to be getting dinner not just sitting around.”

On down the trail I come upon one of the Scrub Jay families.   I’ve included a picture of a regular Blue Jay I saw earlier in my hike so you can compare them and see the difference.

Morning Walk After 9am (15)


Morning Walk After 9am (26)

Morning Walk After 9am (35)

Here’s a different family I came across on a different morning.  I find them all really beautiful.

Morning Walk After 9am (43)

Morning Walk After 9am (41)

Morning Walk After 9am (42)

I went by this sign every morning on my way to my green trail hike and it always makes me laugh.



  1. I would be hopeless to remember the names of all the birds, much less info about them. I did learn a lot about my local birds when I lived in western North Carolina though, because I had feeders out and never tired of watching them.

  2. What marvelous birds! Your neighbour's dog is a cutie.

  3. No jays sitting on your hat this year? They sure are pretty. Love that the eagle brought her new mate home, but they built their own new house - sometimes you just need that new start :-) How fun to visit them every day! Some day I must go to the drumming, it always looks wonderful. Mom always said there would be no war if all men drummed :-)

  4. Wonderful to see the FL Scrub Jay hanging in there...I hope they can flourish...great Eagle shots!

  5. So much familiar about this post. I remember that park so clearly. Great bird pictures! That teddy is enormous! I remember the Nokomis Grove oranges. Mmm-mmm good!

  6. That is an amazing 62 camper:) They sure got thier monies worth:))

  7. You joked about the giant teddy bear, but my cousin recently had a premature baby and can you believe they got him one at least that big if not bigger. The pictures are absurd!

  8. Headed to a park in South Bay Florida in a couple weeks. ..sure am hoping to get a glimpse, and a pic of the scrub jay.

  9. Sure hope we can get into that park next winter, looks like birds for Dave, farm stands for me and the drum circle.

  10. The scrub jays don't have topknots like blue jays. Their muted colors are lovely. The jay in the last picture looks like he's wearing a necklace. How cool to see eagles! I'm surprised that young eagles of different ages are in the same nest. The drumming circles look like fun. Cute westie in the restored RV. Have fun!

  11. Just love those eagle pictures. Magnificent birds, even when they're arguing. ;c)

  12. You get some nice birds there in Florida. We don't have a lot of mature trees at this park, but yesterday I saw a bird with a yellow breast yesterday. I'll have to get a picture of it to identify. Love the restored camper!

  13. I want so much to see those Florida Scrub Jays! I also remember the photos you've posted of them sitting on your hat. One of these days we really need to make our way down to Oscar Scherer. You always seem to have such a good time there. Such a cute retro trailer—but definitely not a full-timing rig! :-)

  14. Nice variety of things to do at Oscar Scherer. You captured them well in your pictures, especially the birds - they are all so well outfitted & groomed - all the time.

  15. Our campsites are like night and day with all that lush growth and me in the desert. I like them both. Great bird sightings and captures. Hard to believe there's an endangered Jay as they seem so plentiful in the west. Bonus Eagle sightings.


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