Typical view [?]
NOTE: C+, maybe B
NOTE: I assume
NOTE: Seemed like it might be grassy.
LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: 10700 SW 250 St, Newberry, FL, Alachua, USA, 32669
5 CLOSEST (Map)
1) What It's Like
We definitely have not figured this place out yet. But so far - multiple promising birding and hiking spots along here. Along SW 250th St there are a couple entrances that are mixed pine and oak forest with a good amount of cattle prairie. Across the street are pastures with a fair number of birds. At the end of the road is a county park that's more or less a boat launch plus entrance to the SE corner of the WEA. The boat launch is into vague territory of lake vs water plants and little islands - water birds present.
2) Kinds of Birds
A good number of warblers around the pond and in the trees. A good number of kestrels and birds you tend to see in pastures along the pastures. And the fact that we saw gallinules, a duck, and some wading birds with that unholy hell going on seems to suggest it gets even better on a quiet day.
We didn't hike out in the trails enough to see tracks but it seems like a good spot. There's an area protected from hunting next to an unprotected one and it's all next to a wetland. Seems promising.
The Goethe portion has camping. I didn't see chem toilets or anything on this side.
See Experience writeup and map.
6) Time Requirements
The official F&W map for the WEA shows parking areas but no trails. I know there are at least 5 miles of trails in there - could be more. The other side - Goethe portion - I'm guestimating from the photo I took of their map and say there's at least a few miles of trails in there. SO - you could stop for a brief look (although it's likely to be a drive to get here) or you could spend half a day.
We heard Watermelon pond in general was of interest for birding so first we came up CR 337 and see Goethe SF's Watermelon Park. The main Goethe SF is a good bit away from here towards the coast - I assume the same person donated both properties or they just wanted to call them the same thing for administrative purposes. I find it confusing. Anyhow - that entrance has a page. It's mostly horse trails. If you go up and around to the far side it's bordered by SW 250th St - a mildly obnoxious rocky dirt road. Along here are several entrances into Watermelon Pond WEA - that's run by fish and wildlife. We stopped along the road here to take pictures of birds but didn't hike - it seems like mixed pine and oak. Across the street along 250th is a lot of pasture with a fair number of birds. If you go all the way to the end there's another similar entrance to the WEA but it's mostly a boat ramp into - well it's not totally clear if there is one body of water called "watermelon pond" but it enters what looks like a bit of an everglades style mix of lake, water plants, and little islands.
When we got there there was some sort of airboat rally going on. Neat but it scared off every duck and squirrel with the ungodly racket.
So I'd file the whole area as promising for birds because we saw enough to be interesting as is.
Also is there some secret to airboat launches? It wasn't a big deal but when we showed up it was a bit tense. Like we stumbled into a black mass or something. If we go missing look for airboat riding satanists.
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