Joe Overstreet Road - Florida
Sandhill Cranes, Joe Overstreet Rd.
Joe Kegley | E-Mail | Updated 1/09/08
Bald Eagle, Joe Overstreet Rd
- Joe Kegley
Joe Overstreet Road is a 5.5 mile dirt road that terminates at a public boat launch on Lake Kissimmee.
The road is bordered by cattle ranches (and some sod fields) on each side. At the end of the road near the public boat launch is a small store offering airboat rides and a few camp sites.
This area brags of having the highest concentration of nesting bald eagles in the lower 48 states. Approximately 150 active nesting territories are found around the lakes of Osceola and Polk counties in Florida.
Birding is the number one reason for nature enthusiasts to visit Joe Overstreet Rd. While birding, be on the lookout for Bald Eagles, Whooping Cranes, Sandhill Cranes, and Crested Caracaras. It is not surprising to see organized birding tours coming through the area.
Bald Eagles. As stated above, there is a high concentration of Bald Eagles in the area. From what I have read and from what the locals have told me, eagles can be observed any time of the year at this location. The eagles can be observed flying over the lake and sometimes perching on fence posts near or in the lake. In my 4 days of visiting Joe Overstreet, I saw eagles every day.
Whooping Crane, Joe Overstreet Rd
- Joe Kegley
Whooping Cranes. The Whooping Cranes in the area are part of a captive release program. These birds do not migrate. These are not the birds that migrate from the North following an ultra-light plane to Crystal River/Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuges, so depending on your ethics (what is wild and what is not), they might not be counted on your 'Life List'. They can be observed in the cattle fields and sometimes feeding near the lake. Many times I observed them mixed in with Sandhill Cranes. In my 4 days of visiting Joe Overstreet, I saw Whooping Cranes every day.
Sandhill Cranes. Sandhill Cranes are very numerous in this area. Like the Whooping Cranes, they can be observed in the cattle fields and sometimes feeding near the lake. If you get to the boat launch area at dawn, you may be blessed with large groups flying in from the shallow wet areas to feed in the cattle fields. In my 4 days of visiting Joe Overstreet, I saw large numbers of Sandhill Cranes every day.
Meadowlark, Joe Overstreet Rd
- Joe Kegley
Crested Caracara. The Caracara can occasionally be found perching on a fence post near the side of the road. Like eagles, they have no problem eating carrion with the buzzards. (Note the Caracara photo was taken on State Rd 160 about 30 miles from Joe Overstreet road. I personally did not see a Caracara on Joe Overstreet, but others have.)
In addition to the above I also observed, Snail Kites, Kingfishers, Moorhens, Coots, Little Blue Herons, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, and Cattle Egrets, on a regular basis at the boat launch area. A Snail Kite would make a regular pass to the left of the boat launch (when facing Lake Kissimmee) about once an hour.
When driving up and down Joe Overstreet road I occasionally came across Red-shouldered Hawks, Meadowlarks, and Wild Turkey. Wood Storks were sometimes seen in one of the cattle watering holes.
Crested Caracara, State Road 160
- Joe Kegley
Wilderness Experience Perspective
None to speak of at Joe Overstreet Road.
If you decide to paddle Lake Kissimmee, I would suggest kayaking instead of canoeing. The wind on this open lake is going to blow you around in a canoe. Kayaking will keep you lower in the water.
If you are in need of a wilderness fix, I suggest you try the Prairie Lakes Unit of the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area about 4 miles down Canoe Creek Rd. Primitive camping is allowed at designated campsites except during established hunting seasons for the area. A $3 fee per person ($6 per carload) is required for entry into the Prairie Lakes Unit of Three Lakes WMA. A free camping permit is required for camping.
While I didn't get the spectacular shots I wanted, mostly due to bad weather, I will be visiting Joe Overstreet Rd again. I can't mention how good Joe Overstreet Rd is in other seasons, but it offered tremendous photography potential during January when I went.
Photography Tips for Joe Overstreet Rd.
- Shoot in the morning hours. This is especially true when shooting at the public boat launch, the sun will be behind you while you shoot toward the lake.
- Take your longest lens.
- Park (and shoot) in the open grassy area right next to the lake. When at the picnic tables facing the lake, this area is a non-fenced area on the left. Originally I was shooting from the picnic table area thinking the grassy area was private property until two photographers from Florida drove down there and set up. This area is a little closer to the wildlife.
- Long Telephoto Lens - Much of the Bald Eagle activity will probably be observed from a fair distance.
- Insect Repellent - Depending on the season. No need for it during the winter time.
- Canoe/Kayak - Should you decide on exploring Lake Jackson in the Prairie Lakes Unit of Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area. Note the lakes in this area can be very windy.
Location and Points of Interest
From St. Cloud Florida, drive south on Canoe Creek Rd for approximately 20 miles, Joe Overstreet Rd will be on your right. You will see a 'Public Boat Launch' sign and a 'Florida Birding Trail' sign at the turn off.
Joe Overstreet Rd Map (Google interactive map)
left double click to zoom in
right double click to zoom out
click and drag to move
hover over markers to see descriptions
I suggest you 'left double click' to zoom in for more a more detailed view. Note, clicking on the balloon markers does nothing.
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - Specific to Joe Overstreet Rd.
Joe Overstreet Road ... a nature, wildlife, and photography perspective.