There is no other creek in Sarasota County quite like Phillippi. Not only is it Sarasota’s largest freshwater creek, but it’s also a bit of a local secret when it comes to wildlife, fishing, and recreational activities. Like a lot of places in Florida, it does not immediately flaunt its beauty, but for those with a keen sense of exploration and observation, there are many hidden gems tucked away in this seemingly urban environment.

Over the next few articles, we will be sharing stories and experiences from neighbors, locals, and those who took the time to get to know an often underestimated neighborhood resource.

Part I: Manatee Magic

Phillippi Creek is host to many different kinds of wildlife, including manatees. Since there is less boat traffic and noise in the creek, it can serve as a safe place for mothers with their calves, mating, or grazing.

Photo and video credit: Liz Sandburg

If you’re lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, you might just stumble upon a group of manatees splashing around. What may look like stressed behavior is actually how they mate. Typically, one or two females and many males will form what is called a mating herd with the males bumping into each other as they attempt to reach a female.

Liz and Matt Sandburg, residents along Phillippi Creek, have been lucky enough to witness this event twice! The video above was from a mating herd (1 female and 8 -9 males) that lasted over 22 hours! Although actual mating only lasts a few minutes, mating herds can stay together for 2 to 4 weeks.

“We love our creek and always see something exciting in there!” – Liz and Matt Sandburg

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