A Bird(er)’s Eye View of Florida’s Harbour RidgePosted on: February 10, 2023
Read Time: 5 minutes
Surrounded by vast nature preserves along the North Fork of the idyllic St. Lucie River, Harbour Ridge has become a magnet for not only an abundance of wildlife, but also nature lovers worldwide. From manatees and otters in the estuary waters to southern bald eagles nesting along the two championship golf courses, this private Club on Florida’s Treasure Coast takes pride in preserving the area’s natural beauty, retaining its designation as a “Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” since 2000.
Resident nature photographer Lois Fraser has been capturing the magic of Harbour Ridge for the past 11 years. After buying her first “real” camera when she moved from Cincinnati, her involvement in the Harbour Ridge Birding Society, or The Birders, allowed her passions for both photography and nature to flourish. Let’s learn more about the natural neighbors that are a part of everyday life at Harbour Ridge, and the Members who enjoy observing them.
Meet The Birders
As one of the many special-interest clubs available to Harbour Ridge Members, The Birders are an easygoing group that cherish getting outdoors to explore the natural beauty that surrounds them. With over 200 households as members, the diverse estuarine environment provides them with the closest thing to actually living in a nature preserve. No wildlife knowledge is required to join, and many people participate in bird walks on Monday afternoons to spot as many different species as they can.
“The best thing that I’ve become involved in was the Harbour Ridge Birding Society,” shared Fraser. “When I first joined, I didn’t know very much about birds at all, but I’ve learned so much since then. Our Birders cherish getting out in nature, enjoying a beautiful afternoon or morning stroll observing all the wildlife.”
4,000 Florida Birds Take Flight at the Rookery
Perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring nature spots for The Birders, the Rookery is one of the largest in the state of Florida. This collection of mangroves nestled along the St. Lucie River serves as a shelter and a feeding spot for an abundance of egrets and other birds. Each morning like clockwork, these birds fly off in one large flock at sunrise and return at sunset. Harbour Ridge residents look forward to watching the birds move in a cloud of white feathers every day. The amount of birds that choose to rest here is so substantial that scientists from the National Audubon Society use the Rookery to measure the population of certain species and the health of the surrounding ecosystem.
“Every year, there’s a group of people who count the birds in the rookery at Harbour Ridge, which is a daunting task,” said Fraser. “There are close to 4,000 birds out there every night in the Winter. It’s less during the Summer, but it’s still a spectacle. People always ask: ‘isn’t it noisy?’ And, well, not really – the frogs make more noise than the birds.”
Wildlife Adventures Beyond the Nest
While Harbour Ridge is a beautiful setting for The Birders, Members also take smaller group trips to other renowned wildlife destinations. Every year, there’s a day trip to the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach, where 50 acres of wetlands provide an up close and personal view of hundreds of bird species. The Birders also plan at least one overnight trip a year to other locations within Florida and have even gone to Panama and Costa Rica in the past.
Harbour Ridge Clubs for Every Interest
The Birders are just one of the many opportunities Harbour Ridge Members have to get involved in a hobby or club that interests them. The elegant 45,000-square-foot waterfront Clubhouse stands at the heart of it all, with an endless mix of member-organized clubs for every lifestyle. Artists can get creative at the Artisans Club or Stitchery or inspire others through music with the Chorale. Set sail for an adventure with the Kayak and Yacht Clubs or enjoy laughter and friendly competition with the cards and mah jongg clubs. No matter what Members enjoy, they will surely find a friendly, welcoming community.
“We came to Harbour Ridge thinking: ‘How are we going to meet people? Will it be easy?’ Then months into it, we’re like, ‘How are we going to find time to do things with all these amazing people that we’ve met?’ We feel fortunate every day that we’ve been here.”
A Premier Private Club Community
Harbour Ridge offers the very best of boating and golf course living. Along with the Clubhouse, residents can entertain themselves at the Lakeside Lifestyle Center, home to a Peter Burwash International-managed tennis program with nine Har-Tru courts, eight pickleball courts, a spacious fitness center, a full-service spa, a barbershop, and physical therapy. Harbour Ridge also features two USGA recognized championship golf courses: The River Ridge, a Pete & P.B. Dye-designed course with tropical landscapes and vistas that can be played from any of the five sets of tees, and the Golden Marsh, a Bobby Weed-designed course with tropical charm, swaying palms, and sweeping vistas. Three private marinas on-site provide a combined total of 98 slips for boats up to 80 feet in length.
The wide variety of homes for sale within the Harbour Ridge community offers varying price points and styles to suit every need. All single-family homes and condominiums have stunning views of the St. Lucie River, lakes golf courses, or nature preserves. Move-in-ready rental residences are also available for seasonal residents. Our complimentary digital brochure shares an even closer look at the amenities and lifestyle offered within this waterfront community. Visit HarbourRidge.com or call 772-336-3000 for more information.