Wild Turkey Strand Preserve

Sunday March 21st 2021

The sun was in short supply today. The day began with very heavy cloud cover; almost a thick fog. It took most of the morning for the sky to start to lighten. The sun made an appearance shortly after noon, but it didn’t last long. Clouds moved in from the gulf as the afternoon went on. The temperature only made it into the low seventies.

I made another attempt to find the Wild Turkey Strand Preserve this afternoon. Today I was successful, but it took a little luck. There are no signs on the main road. I knew it was on Rod and Gun Club Road just a short distance off highway 82. By luck, I spotted the road sign for Rod and Gun Club Road. I came on it a lot quicker than I thought I would. The construction on this section of highway 82 was already complete.

Wildflower blossom of the day.

The Wild Turkey Strand Preserve is a Lee County park on land that once was part of the Buckingham Army Air Field. The former World War II air field and gunnery training facility was decommission by 1947. There are a couple of old reinforced cement buildings on the property that were probably used for ammunition storage. Information placards in the park discuss the history of the site.

The preserve is near the end of the runway for the Southwest Florida International Airport.

The developed portion of the preserve contains a 1.8 mile loop trail that is a combination of paved pathways, boardwalks and dirt trails. Many sections of the dirt trails are under water during the wet season. Today I didn’t get my feet wet. The worst area was just a little muddy off to the side of the trail. I think the trail would have more wildlife to observe when more water is present. The only significant flying objects I saw today were the jets on final approach to Southwest Florida International Airport. There was a steady flow of low flying aircraft. I didn’t see any Turkeys or the usual Ibis, Egrets or Herons. There were also lots of warnings out on the main highways about the area being panther habitat. Luckily, I didn’t see any of those either.

Not sure what kind of snake was in the middle of the trail.

The one creature I did see that I could have gone without crossing paths was a snake. It was enjoying the diminishing sun in the middle of the trail. I’m not familiar with all the different types of snakes in Florida. While I thought it was probably a non venomous species, I gave it plenty of room. I waited for a few minutes and then resorted to tossing pebbles at it to get it to move off the trail. None of my tosses landed very close, but it eventually got the idea and moved along.

I enjoyed my visit to Wild Turkey Strand Preserve, but probably won’t be back. The hike around the 1.8 mile loop was the enjoyable part. The lack of any good bird and animal viewing sites is the disappointing part about the Preserve.

My return route to the campground was a wide arc to the west. I went into Fort Myers and north along the Tamiami trail to North Fort Myers before turning inland back to my RV home. On my journey I passed the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. The Red Sox were in the middle of a home game loss to the Pirates. The Twins were not playing at home. The JetBlue Park at Fenway South home to the Red Sox parking lot only had a small number of cars, but lots of attendants and security. Attendance is restricted to 24% or about 2400 people.

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