Lake Louise Field Trip



I think everyone can agree that our most recent field trip to Lake Louisa State Park for our kayaking/nature tour was very educational and overall a fun experience. Killian Hiltz from Orange Audubon chapter along with Lavon Silvernell and Suzi Harr from OVAS participated in the field trip. Between our combined knowledge of flora and fauna of central Florida, we were able to identify almost everything we encountered. Lavon knows her plants, Killian’s has a great eye for birds, and I filled in with insects/butterflies and birding by ear.

Lake Louisa State Park is one of the cleanest and well-managed state parks in Florida that I have visited, which is why I chose to have the field trip at this location. The best part about it is that even the beach area where swimming is permitted is remarkably quiet and peaceful.


We started our field trip at the butterfly garden behind the pay station at the entrance. There were numerous Gulf Fritillaries, Zebra Heliconia, Polydamas Swallowtails, a Clouded Skipper, and more. Lavon spotted an empty White-eyed Vireo nest made from Spanish Moss and I spotted an unusual pollinating moth hiding in the Coontie plants. I had to send the photo to a moth expert for identification.

On our way to the beach, we stopped at a field with goldenrod and Golden Aster. Here we spotted several Common Buckeyes, Zebra Swallowtails, and Eastern Bluebird. A Northern Bobwhite was heard calling and Lavon even found a Zebra Swallowtail caterpillar on a branch above a small Pawpaw plant, it’s host.

The staff at Lake Louisa State Park was nice enough to let us walk around their administration building, where there are several wild flowers and a nice native plant garden. A quick look got us a new species for the trip- Long-tailed Skipper nectaring on Bidens alba.

We then made our way to the beach area to meet with our kayak tour guide Patrick Creveling, who was working as a contractor for P3 Kayak/Cycling Company. Patrick gave everyone a quick tutorial for newer kayakers and off we went. He taught us about a plane that crashed at that site during WWII and about the tannins in the water from the Bald Cypress tress. We heard Red-winged Blackbirds and saw a Great Egret along the edge of the water. Getting back into the Cypress swamps was so peaceful and relaxing. Hiroshi and Susan, two of our OVAS members, were new to kayaking, but handled the turns through the Cypress trees with ease after a little practice.


Our guide, Patrick was friendly and professional and even took several photos of our group for us. His website can be found through Facebook and he leads tours from Lake Louisa and Silver Springs. Please consider his tour company, Eco-Active Tours if you’re interested in seeing the real Florida up close and personal!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lake Louisa Nature Walk and Kayak Trip


Hello fellow Oklawaha Valley Audubon members,

Here are the details on our upcoming summer field trip at Lake Louisa State Park on July 21st:

Lake Louisa nature walk/summer kayak trip lead by Park staff. Nature walk by Rebecca Smith and Killian Hiltz of Orange Audubon

time/date: 8am-12pm, Friday July 21st, 2017

cost: $30 per person with a kayak rental/ $20 if you bring your own kayak (does not include admission to park)

Meet at the Lake Louisa State Park parking lot next to pay station/butterfly garden at 8am. 7305 US Highway 27, Clermont, FL 34714

Reservations must be made by July 14th by emailing or calling 609-553-0757

Anyone interested should bring binoculars, a camera  (waterproof) or field guide(s) if you have one, bug spray, sun screen, a packed lunch for after the kayaking tour, and plenty of water.

I hope everyone is having a great summer and hope to see you there!


Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Field Trip at Pear Park

Our June field trip to PEAR Park in Leesburg was originally organized to target the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds that Gallus Quigley has documented as breeding on the property in past years. We met in the parking lot at 8am for the field trip, and I was surprised to see that more people came out than I was expecting. There were 11 participants plus Gallus and myself. We started our walk by checking the garden by the parking lot. The garden contains several red flowers that great nectar sources for the hummingbirds including, Standing cypress, Scarlet Tropical Sage, Coral Honeysuckle, and Firebush. We did not see any hummingbirds here, but had an Eastern Bluebird pair perched on the telephone line along with a Red-bellied Woodpecker. A Great-crested Flycatcher came in to the nest box by the garden to feed it’s chicks.
Next we walked to the gardens by the Passionvine Gazebo. We stayed here quite a while, and were entertained by a Brown Thrasher family. Mary Wexler even spotted a Woodrat running through the garden. However, the hummingbirds just did not seem to want to make an appearance.
We then walked to our final destination, which was the observation tower surrounded by 4 large Firebush plants. There were several butterflies nectaring on all of the wildflowers along the road during our walk. Since it was still early morning for butterflies, we were able to get great views of Checkered Whites and fritillaries which tend to be more flighty later in the day. When we got to the tower, we saw wading birds including Wood Storks flying in the distance as well as a Cooper’s Hawk and an Eastern Kingbird. A Red-bellied Woodpecker nestling had it’s head out of the nest box and his bill opened waiting for a snack from mom.
While we finished the field trip without seeing any hummingbirds, I think everyone still had a fun time observing what we did see. We managed to record a total of 38 bird and 10 butterfly species on the property for the morning. Please come out and join us for our next field trip to Lake Louisa State Park in July to do some birding and kayaking. Hope to see you there!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized