River otters frequent the wetlands and creek
Photo Credit: Jack Rogers
Wildlife viewing is excellent throughout the mesic flatwoods and extensive wetlands. The flatwoods provide open scenic views with opportunities to see wildlife such as white-tailed deer, gopher tortoises, pine warblers and Bachman’s sparrows. Wetlands host wood storks and other wading birds, alligators, river otters, turtles and a variety of frogs and toads.
Wildlife Spotlight: Wood Stork
Photo Credit: David Moynahan
Tall and long-legged, the wood stork is the largest wading bird native to North America and is the only species of stork that breeds in the U.S. The species is a Federally-designated threatened species.
The wood stork is white with black flight feathers and is distinctive because of its dark, featherless head (down to the upper neck) and thick, downward-curving bill. Wood storks fly with neck and legs extended, interrupting strong wing beats with brief glides. Their wingspan is 5 ½ feet.
Wood storks feed on small to medium-sized fish, crayfish, amphibians and reptiles. Their hunting technique is unique as they will move their partially opened bill through water, snapping up prey that comes in contact with the bill.
Wood storks are very social in nesting habitats and are often seen nesting in large colonies of 100-500 nests.