Spring Has Sprung at Sanlan
Spring is here and with that comes the renewal of life. The seeds that stayed dormant during the winter have sprouted into new plants which in turn produce food for insects and birds. The days are getting longer promoting many insect larvae and to transform into their final form. It’s also the time for birds to nest and for many mammals to emerge from their dens with their offspring. In fact, a time for new life in the natural world.
To experience this, all you need to do is head to the trails of the Sanlan Bird and Wildlife Sanctuary. Birds can be heard singing along the trail and butterflies are fluttering among the flowers of the butterfly garden. The garden is the best place to watch for butterflies nectaring on fresh blooms and caterpillars chewing on the milkweeds until all leaves are gone. The garden is starting to produce some great flowers including snapdragons, plumbago, Mexican petunia and coral honeysuckle among others. Visit the garden in the morning just a couple of hours after sunrise to increase the chances of sighting up to eight species of butterflies within minutes including gulf fritillaries, black and tiger swallowtails and clouded sulphurs among others.
Along the trails you may encounter several species of birds many of which are currently nesting. Two species of woodpeckers can be seen, the pileated woodpecker and the red-bellied woodpecker are fairly common sights near dead limbs. Carolina wrens and tufted titmice can be heard singing announcing that spring has arrived. At the shores of Banana lake, you can hear the red-winged blackbirds and may even catch a glimpse of a painted bunting feeding on the grasses along the trail. At dusk you may hear the piercing sound of the limpkin walking by the ponds or the screeching sound of a red-shouldered hawk perched on a tree.
If you ‘re lucky you may encounter one of several bobcats that frequent the sanctuary and the nearby Sanlan golf course. These wild cats are predominantly active early in the morning and in the early evening hours. They can be seen stalking birds on the edges of the trails or climbing trees chasing squirrels. If you want a special treat, head over to the first lake to the south of the main road to see a nesting great blue heron and her chick. The nest is located over the water atop a fallen pine tree. Always keep a safe distance to avoid disturbing the birds.
Spring is here, so get out there and enjoy the renewal of life.
Top: Oak trees provide plenty of shade along the Sanctuary Trail. Middle: A black swallowtail nectaring on lantana near the butterfly garden. Bottom: A great blue heron with her two weeks old chick can be seen on the first pond on the left as you drive into Sanlan RV & Golf Resort from US98.
Don’t forget your Mail!
As many of you are packing and ready to hit the road, we want to remind you to check for mail or Amazon deliveries when you check out. We don’t want you to leave without your last minute mail deliveries.
Rainey’s Shuffleboard Competition
The shuffleboard court was very busy this past weekend with more than 45 competitors of the Rainey’s Shuffleboard Tournament. This is one of the most prestigious tournaments of this social sport involving some of the best players in the region in six separate categories. The event lasted three days as players got to compete against each other in those categories to select the regional champions. The organizers and participants were very pleased with the conditions of the courts and the welcoming atmosphere by Sanlan’s administration and residents.
Living with Wildlife
Florida is well known for its abundant wildlife. Photos of bobcats, alligators and wading birds make the cover of many magazines and bring many visitors to the Sunshine State. But one does not have to go to the Everglades or a nature preserve to experience the wildlife. With the increased pressure from development and the resulting habitat loss, wildlife comes closer to our homes, causing human-wildlife conflicts that more often than not end on the demise of the animal.
Understanding what animals need, may help you understand how our actions may bring them closer than we may want. Animals are not different than us. They all need some basic things including food, water and shelter. When these three things are available, conditions are met for that wildlife to become established. Take for example the gray squirrel, a hardworking rodent that loves to stash food in attics and even in vehicles when parked on one place for too long. If food is available near the home such as seeds from a bird feeder, the more chances for that squirrel to take shelter in your attic. Therefore, blocking any access to the attic seems like the most logical way to prevent them from taking shelter there. But these pesky rodents are the least of our problems in Florida. Other animals top the list on human-wildlife conflicts.
Alligators, black bears, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons and even otters are among the most common, but even birds make the list, especially raptors. The common denominator that put all these animals in a collision course with humans is food. From trash cans to bird feeders intended for the purpose of attracting birds to your backyard to a picnic at the local park, these all can be very effective attractants for these animals. Knowing the rules and regulations established by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Game Commission is essential to prevent feeding.
In Florida it’s legal to feed perching birds such as those that come to your backyard feeders, but the intentional feeding of a sandhill crane, pelican or bald eagle is illegal. The same applies to purposely feeding bears, coyotes and rabies-vector species like raccoons or feral cats on public property.
One of the most common wildlife-human conflicts in Florida involve the America alligator. These large crocodilians can be found in nearly any body of water in the state. Unfortunately many people feed these apex predators disregarding the laws that prohibit such practice. The problem is simple. Once a gator associates food with humans, a dependency is created and every time a person comes close to the water, the gator will approach expecting a free meal. This practice ends in accidents usually involving pets such as dogs, but occasionally it can involve humans, too.
Recently four gators had to be removed from Sanlan’s ponds due to their unnatural behavior and loss of fear of humans. These gators showed the tell-tale signs of having been fed. Unfortunately, most gators that are removed from public parks and neighborhood ponds end up being euthanized, as relocating them will only move the offending animal, but will not fix their bad behavior. The only way to prevent their unnecessary death is to stop the illegal feeding. Also, understanding their biology will help you prevent any surprises. Alligators are crepuscular creatures, meaning they prefer to search for prey at sundown and through the night. Avoid walking close to water bodies during those hours and even more if walking pets or small children. For a gator, a dog or a small child is nothing more than meal opportunity.
On another hand, feeding animals like raccoons will only increase the chances of rabies and distemper to reach your beloved pets or even you. Otters are often infected with rabies in Florida from coming in contact with infected raccoons at feeding sites. This is a big problem in parks where people feed feral cats that may come in contact with infected raccoons.
In closing, I invite you to watch wildlife from a safe distance and never feed wild animals that may become a nuisance. Remember, there are plenty of regulations against the feeding of wildlife in Florida. For more information follow this link: https://myfwc.com/media/16673/information-about-wildlife-feeding-rules-and-penalties.pdf
Play your game at Sanlan Golf Course
If you play golf with us, you must have noticed the improvements on the course. The greens are in great shape and our crew at the Pro Shop is ready to serve you. Many tournaments are being scheduled and leagues are taking advantage of the course conditions. Because of our popularity, we recommend you book your tee times early and no better way to do it than on our website at sanlangolf.com.