DINNER ISLAND RANCH
Southwest of Clewiston in southern Hendry County, Dinner Island’s thirty-four square miles of pastures, sloughs, pine flatwoods and oak hammocks form a vital link to surrounding wetlands that connect the Caloosahatchee River with the Big Cypress Swamp fifty miles to the south. In an area where wild landscapes are rapidly being converted to agriculture and residential and commercial uses, this connection secures habitat vital to the survival of the Florida panther and many other threatened wildlife species. Roseate spoonbills, Florida sandhill cranes, crested caracaras, wood storks, white-tailed deer and wild turkeys are common sights along the network of graded roads and mowed trails open for wildlife viewing, hunting, cycling, horseback riding and hiking.
Dinner Island’s large acreage and mix of wetlands and uplands create outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities. Heron, egret, ibis, roseate spoonbill and wood stork regularly congregate at ditches and wetlands. Crested caracara and Florida sandhill cranes are easy to spot in open pastures and prairies. Watch for the yellow flashes of the eastern meadowlark as it perches in low shrubs in pastures. Power lines and fence posts provide convenient perches for kestrels, loggerhead shrikes, hawks and tree swallows.
Listen for screech, barred and barn owls in the palm and oak hammocks that also host migratory warblers in the spring and fall. Blue-winged and green-winged teal, Florida mottled duck and wood duck use the wetlands in the winter.
White-tailed deer and wild turkey prefer woodland edges or are attracted to clearings such as the dove field, which is planted in a mixture of permanent grasses and seasonal grains. Swallow-tailed kites are a spring and summer specialty usually spotted in flight over open areas. Autumn blooms in wetlands and roadside ditches attract numerous species of butterflies.
Located in Hendry County, about 23 miles east of Immokalee; 29 miles southwest of Clewiston. From Immokalee, head east on C.R. 846 for 19 miles to intersection with C.R. 833. Turn left (north) and go 4 miles to gated entrance on left. From Clewiston, travel west on U.S. 27/S.R. 80 for 8.5 miles to blinking light and turn left onto S.R. 80. Travel west for approximately 3 miles to C.R. 833. Turn left and travel south for 17.5 miles to gated entrance on right.