Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Walk Report: Sabal Palm Sanctuary in Brownsville

Hello, everyone.

We awoke early and rarin' to go, so we got into the truck and headed down the highway to Brownsville. (Fortunately, we remembered to bring cell phones so we could check Google Maps for the actual location!) We found the Sabal Palm Sanctuary, formerly operated by the Audobon Society, without any trouble and had a friendly chat with the nice volunteer at the Rabb House where the admission is paid. She was very informed on various birds and hot butterfly-seeing sites on the area. (It's closed on Wednesdays, and shuts down for the night at 5 pm, just so y'all know.)

The place is beautiful. It's almost an undiscovered gem. The birds are not "baited" or "staged" by the use of bird feeders, but they have a lot to say in the trees overhead. Also the fly around a lot. If you were minded to sit down for a quiet wait on one of the many benches, you could probably make some really pretty bird pictures.

The historic Rabb Ranch House
 There is a butterfly garden, unseen off to the left in this photo.

Apparently there was a lovely updraft that day!
 Don't forget to look up.

A Red-eared Slider was sunning in the resaca
 They have a number of short walks with great photo moments. This was taken from an elevated boardwalk over the water.

The palm tree had leaned over the path. Moss was growing on the trunk, too!
The several walks near the resaca are very pleasant. Assorted native plants are growing along with introduced plants that have gone wild. I never thought I'd see a bloom from a Sanseveria plant! (AKA "snake plant" or "mother in law's tongue") There are both native palms and introduced palms that appear to have gone feral. Spanish "moss" is all over the place near the resaca. There was a berry plant that I'd never seen before, called variously snowberry and David's milkberry, which is at the very northern edge of its natural range. The little fruits are really snow-white! Lovely. Also we saw a floating plant, which might have been the famous floating fern. It was cute in an elegant, understated way.

There is a native loop and a loop near the river which have a lot of potential. I understand that if there has been rain there are a number of butterflies near the native loop. The day we went, it was mostly peaceful and quiet.

This little walk is really nice and enjoyable. It is also conveniently close to Stripes locations with good breakfast tacos, gas, and restrooms. Should such things be of interest to the visitor!

We think we got in about 3 miles of walking, by stitching together most of the little routes of the sanctuary.