Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Perico Preserve

Perico Island guards the north end of Sarasota Bay, east of Anna Marie Island; it is separated from the mainland by Perico Bayou.  Perico Preserve, stretching across 176 acres of the island, has been established to reclaim natural habitat that was destroyed by agricultural, residential and industrial development.  Mangroves, tidal creeks, saltwater bayous, freshwater ponds, coastal scrublands and upland woods of slash pine, live oak and cabbage palm characterize the preserve.

While restoration of this Manatee County refuge is still underway, Perico Preserve is open to the public and is accessed by 1.5 miles of sandy trails; scenic wooden bridges ford the tidal streams and take visitors out to the edge of Perico Bayou.  Birders will find a large diversity of coastal species and, this morning, we observed 22 of them; highlights included American white pelicans, wood storks, little blue herons, roseate spoonbills and common gallinules.

The entrance to Perico Preserve is on the north side of Route 64 (Manatee Avenue), a short distance east of the drawbridge.  Dogs (other than those used for assistance) are not permitted in this recovering sanctuary.