|Aardvark's offers tours to two specific areas that offer the best water-based birding on the Nature
Coast. One is a freshwater lake system surrounding the Lake Rousseau State Recreation Area and the
other is the coastal estuary that holds the St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve.
Lake Rousseau was formed in the 1920's by the construction of a hydro-power dam on the Withlacoochee River near
Inglis. Later, it was selected to be a significant part of the ill-fated Cross-Florida Barge Canal. The "backwaters" area
of the lake is full of stumps, snags, and marsh islands. This limits the powerboat traffic and makes for excellent
The backwaters of Lake Rousseau is some of the best birding Citrus County has to offer. With a full complement of
our snowbirds arriving it is not unusual to count the bird sightings in the hundreds during the winter months. Here are
a few of the species we commonly see. During the winter months you can expect at least one sighting of each on an
average 3 hour tour.
|St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve
The St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve covers open water areas from the Crystal River to the Homosassa River in
coastal Citrus County. It is composed of open water, several inlet bays, tidal rivers and creeks, saltmarsh, and adjoins
upland hammock islands. Nutrient exchange between the marshes and the Gulf of Mexico makes the saltmarsh a
significant area of primary production and a nursery ground for commercial and recreational fish species. The
marshes and coastal hammocks are a southern terminus for migratory waterfowl, providing wintering and stopover
areas for these and other migratory bird species.
The St. Martins Marsh Aquatic Preserve was established on October 21, 1969.
|Birds of the St. Martins Marsh
The highlight of any winter trip to the St. Martins Marsh are the large flocks of white pelicans that roost on
Mullet Key and fish the shallow waters of the outer keys.
|In addition to the many bird species already listed, you can find complete lists of sightings and much more information
on birding in Florida from the FWCC Great Florida Birding Trail.