Where the Rare is Commonplace... (part one)
Looking for a reliable place to see a Crested Caracara or Bachman's Sparrow?
Do you thrill at the sight of a Zebra Swallowtail, have a thing for Skippers, or wish to add lep species to your life list? Or perhaps you are a long time Floridian, nostalgic for the days, years ago, when Northern Bobwhites used to frequent your neighborhood. You have come to the right place.
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve harbors and supports a vast number of species of both fauna and flora that have been overrun or pushed out by development and the loss of habitat in Florida. A few examples:
Northern Bobwhites, Eastern Meadowlarks, Eastern Towhees and Wild Turkeys are abundant here. Common Yellowthroats and Common Ground Doves live up to the name "common". Even Bachman's Sparrows—a species of conservation concern throughout its dwindling range—can often be heard and seen from the main road during their spring breeding season and into the summer. Most visitors will be lucky enough to see one or more of the Preserve's resident Crested Caracaras, a rare Florida specialty that breeds in the Florida prairie habitat.
The Preserve is known by lepidopterists everywhere as a place to find a wide variety of butterflies—even the casual observer can't miss the spectacular Zebra Swallowtail (photo on our Home page) in the late spring and summer months—at times it is the most common butterfly around.
Non-native, exotic (and sometimes invasive) plants—sold in vast quantities in the big box stores and now ubiquitous in Florida subdivisions—have supplanted many of "La Florida's" (flowery land in Spanish) true wildflowers in much of the state. Our unique and beautiful flowers can still be found and appreciated in the "Real Florida" habitat of Kissimmee Prairie Preserve.
Shown here—brilliant purple/magenta Blazing Star and Florida Paintbrush flowers in the fall season put on a display that cannot be adequately described or photographed.
Threatened Gopher Tortoises and small, beautiful Rough Green Snakes are a frequent sight on and alongside the road, and very careful watching, especially at dusk, may offer a view of a legless Glass Lizard. (please see the Road Rules post below — they are much more beautiful and interesting if not flattened under car tires).
While the rare truly is commonplace in Kissimmee Prairie Preserve, it is also a refuge for some species that are not commonplace anywhere. Stay tuned.
Friends of Kissimmee Prairie Preserve
Random thoughts on and pictures of Kissimmee Prairie Preserve.