Unlike the birds, it is hard to say how many bird watchers visit or call Lake County home. With more than 18 identified locations for the activity, bird watching is a popular hobby that is enjoyed by many Lake County outdoor enthusiasts.
Members of the Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society search for an elusive species among the foliage at PEAR Park.
“I think there are a lot of bird watchers in Lake County,” said Mary Remer of the Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society. “The society is sent all the names of people that subscribe to National Audubon Magazine, and right now there are more than 500 in this area.
“Bird watching is a growing outdoor activity. Florida is wonderful for it, and there are tons of people that come down here to go bird watching. It’s hard to say how many bird watchers are in Lake County at any given time, but it is a great place for bird watching.”
While many visiting bird watchers find Lake County to be a great place for birding, many residents have known this for years by simply looking out their back porches. While bird watching is increasing in popularity so is the casual watcher who sits in the backyard.
“I have a little different slant than the typical birders — I do it in my yard,” said Greg Gensheimer, a Clermont resident. “I live in an older subdivision with rectangular five-acre lots. Particularly some of the older communities where the trees and habitats are established, there are more birds flying around our houses than most people realize.”
In the past couple of years, Gensheimer has counted more than 60 different species from his backyard, but of course not all at one time.
“It depends on the time of year. Over the last couple of weeks in November the warblers come in and the Chipping Sparrows are at the feeder,” he said. “I heard robins this week and have seen White-winged Doves and Mourning Doves.
“Birds can be found anywhere in Lake County — even little places that might not be anything more than an extended berm off the side of the road. You can see some of the most amazing things here.”