Do you enjoy bird watching? I do. It is a habit that I picked up once I moved to the south. Part of the reason why I took up the habit was because there are so many interesting species of birds known to inhabit or pass throughout the region. I have found that some of the best places to go bird watching are found within Florida’s State Parks. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the best ones:
Fort Mose Historic State Park
The Fort Mose Historic State Park is located in St. Augustine. There are four things that make it a wonderful place to go bird watching. First, there is a well maintained boardwalk that overlooks the marsh. Second, it is part of Florida’s birding trail. Third, there is typically an abundance of birds present. Fourth, there are guided bird walk programs offered throughout the year. Birds that you might see while visiting the park include Pileated Woodpeckers. Their bright red crest makes them one of my favorite birds to watch. The park opens daily, year round, and admission is a mere $2.
Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area
The Gamble Rodgers Memorial State Recreation area is located in Flagler Beach. It is open daily and it will cost you roughly $5 per vehicle to enter the park. It is a great place to go if you want to catch a glimpse of an egret, an osprey or a heron. In addition, there is a ¾ mile long hiking trail where you can watch for other birds like robins. The park is also considered part of Florida’s birding trail.
Bahia Honda State Park
The Bahia Honda State Park is located in Big Pine Key. It opens daily and you may expect to pay around $8 per vehicle to access the park. What makes it a top spot for birding is that it is home to the White-Crowned Pigeon. It is an endangered bird that you’d be hard pressed to find in other areas. I am also a fan of the White Ibis and the Mangrove Cuckoo, which also frequent the park.
Colt Creek State Park
What I like about Colt Creek State Park in Lakeland is its population of Black Bellied Whistling Ducks. Their pink legs really make them a stand out in my book. It is also a good spot to catch sight of a bald eagle. I have always loved watching Bald Eagles. The park opens daily at 8 a.m. and admission averages $4 per vehicle.
Econfina River State Park
The Econfina River State Park is located in Econfina. It opens daily and admission is gratis. What makes it a great spot for bird watching is the amount of species that frequent the park. One of my favorite is the Chuck-Wills-Widow. If you decide to camp at the park you can hear the Chuck-Wills-Widows start making noise around dusk. In my opinion, its call is a lovely sound to hear as you prepare your campfire dinner or drift off to sleep.