2018 Tampa Audubon Field Trips

eagle chase
Credit: Steve Tryon
Red shouldered hawk @ Circle B Bar

Below are guides to help you get the most out of your birding experiences:

For Trip Leaders

A Word from Tampa Audubon Society Regarding Our Field Trips

TAS field trips are open to members and non-members alike, to anyone interested in birds, nature and being outdoors. Pets and smoking are prohibited. Individual field trips will state approximate length of trip, (half day, all day, 1 mile, 6 miles) and degree of difficulty. The monthly walk in Lettuce Lake County Park is a good primer for beginning birders.

Advance registration is appreciated. Please e-mail trip leader if possible, or call if you are planning to attend. For all birding field trips, unless otherwise stated, bring water, hat, sunscreen, binoculars, and dress for the weather. Bring snacks, water, and lunch for most all trips. In case of emergency, it would be helpful if your emergency contact information was in your chest pocket.

TAS encourages carpooling. Please start with full tank of gas! Be prepared to share the cost of gas, tolls, and park entrance fees! Our FT's will meet at a central location for carpooling coordination. For safety reasons, TAS discourages caravanning . Maps and directions will be provided on website. Please bring your own maps. Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to scheduled start time, longer if you plan to buy food. Do check the website for details and updates shortly before each trip.

Hillsborough County is home to over 200 species of birds during some part of the year, numerous reptiles and mammals, and many lovely native plants, including orchids. We hope you'll join us as we explore the great outdoors!

Note: Any person participating in a Tampa Audubon Society Field Trip does so at his or her own risk, and acknowledges that Tampa Audubon Society has made no warranty or representation, expressed or implied, regarding the safety of conducting this activity at this site. All participants will be required to sign a waiver form releasing Tampa Audubon Society and its Officers, Directors, Field Trip Leaders, Assistants and Employees from any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damage, costs and expenses resulting from any injury to me or damage caused by my failure to follow instruction.


2018 Tampa Audubon Field Trips

February 2018

Sat 2/17 Orlando Wetlands Festival - Come and enjoy the Orlando Wetlands Festival on Saturday, February 17, 2018, from 9am-3pm at Fort Christmas Historical Park. The Orlando Wetlands Festival highlights the Orlando Wetlands Park, the City's 1,650 acre water reclamation wetland. The event is sponsored by: City of Orlando, Orange Audubon Society and Orange County Parks and Recreation. Full Details here.

Sun 2/18 Bay Care Ponds, Dunn Ponds, Wall Springs Park, Clearwater - 8:30 am to 2 pm We will have short drives and easy walks at several destinations. Dress for weather, hat, sunscreen and pack lunch. Meet in the rear of Bay Care Office complex, 2985 Drew St, Clearwater.  Park at middle of back pond. We will walk and bird the Bay Care ponds and carpool from there to other birding destinations within 15-20 min drive. Dunn Water Treatment Plant is a popular spot for 100's of wintering ducks. Wall Springs and Seven Springs Water Reclamation Plant are other possible stops depending on conditions. Please register with sandy.reed@tampaaudubon.org to receive updates closer to trip.
Sat-Sun,  2/24-25 Burrowing Owl Festival - Cape Coral http://www.ccfriendsofwildlife.org/

Sun 2/25 Sweetwater Wetlands Park, Gainesville This is a new wetlands that has been collecting lots of great birds, including wintering ducks and shorebirds.  We’ll leave from Tampa at 6 am to drive to Gainesville, planning to arrive by 8:30 at the park. There is a $5 per car entrance fee.  The walk will be on flat paths on the levees of the marshes, probably several miles. Bring water, snacks, hat, and spotting scope if you have one. Lunch will be on your own, there are plenty of places in Gainesville. Contact Mary mary.keith@tampaaudubon.org for maps/directions, or if you want to carpool.

March 2018

Sat 3/3 Brandon Birds at Twin Lakes 8:30 am - Meet in parking lot at pool area at west end of Lake Michaela, in Twin Lakes subdivision at the east end of Bloomingdale Ave. We will spend 2 hours walking around the lake in Twin Lakes subdivision. It is an easy 1 mile walk on a sidewalk around the lake. This is an excellent field trip for beginning to experienced birders. Many local birds congregate there as well as true snowbirds! Birds commonly seen are Purple Gallinule, Wilson's Snipe, Roseate Spoonbill! Closer to the event, we will determine if a visit to Edward Medard boardwalk  ($2/car fee) should be included, where we could eat lunch. Pack lunch, sunscreen, bug spray. Please register with sandy.reed@tampaaudubon.org to receive updates closer to trip.
Sat 3/10 Lettuce Lake  9 am – Beginning Bird Walk - Everyone Welcome!  Meet in the parking lot by the Visitor’s Center in Lettuce Lake Park at 9 am.  We’ll walk the boardwalk or trails, depending on where the best birds are.  We have binoculars to loan, and someone will have a spotting scope so you can get up really close and personal!  Bring water, snack. Entrance fee for park $2.  Done by 11 am. For info contact leader Mary Keith at mary.keith@tampaaudubon.org
Sat 3/17 Grape Hammock Airboat Ride – Lake Kissimmee 9 am – Meet at Grape Hammock Fish Camp, 70 miles east of Brandon just off Rt. 60. We have 2 shifts reserved on the airboat for a tour around the edges of Lake Kissimmee looking for snail kites, purple gallinules, eagles and more.  Caracara are sometimes seen in the area too.  Half the group will bird around the hammock looking for warblers, vireos and raptors while the others ride.  The first ride leaves at 10 am, the second at 11:30 am. When both rides are back we’ll drive to a county park just north on the lakeside for a picnic lunch and more birding.  The captain knows birds and birders, so photography is possible. High speed riding on the boat can be chilly this time of year, so bring a jacket and hat that won’t fly away, as well as water, snack, lunch. $40 per person for airboat ride. Maximum 20 persons.  Contact leader for more details or to arrange a carpool - Mary Keith mary.keith@tampaaudubon.org

Sat 3/24 Eagle Watch, 8 am – Come join Eagle Watch volunteers and visit local nests. This time of year we are guaranteed to see baby eagles.  Meet at the Target on Bloomingdale Avenue (just off Rt 301) in Brandon. We will visit a variety of tree nests and nest on man-made structures. Bring water, snacks if desired.  Not much walking.  Contact leader Nancy Murrah with questions. Nancy.murrah@tampaaudubon.org.

April 2018

Fri-Sun 4/6-9 Cape Coral, Ft Myers, Sanibel & Babcock Webb - Bird the Cape Coral, Ft Myers, Sanibel area with local guides Dave and Tammy McQuade, then stop for red cockaded woodpeckers on the way home Sunday. Meet Fri morning, 10 am, in Ft Myers, overnight Fri and Saturday near Sanibel gateway; Early Saturday morning catch spring migrants and local favorites at hotspots in Ft Myers and Sanibel area; see Burrowing Owls in Cape Coral, possible Rose-ringed Parakeets at Ft Myers roost, Mangrove Cuckoo, Snowy Plovers. Dress for weather, hat, sunscreen, bugs. Driving to locations with easy hikes up to 1 1/2 mi. On Sunday we’ll leave Cape Coral early to be at the red cockaded woodpecker colony by sunup in Babcock Webb WMA.  It’s only about 30 miles north of Ft. Myers, so not far.  After greeting the dawn with the woodpeckers we will drive the 8 mile loop looking for brown headed nuthatches, meadowlarks, bobwhites, winter warblers and more.  Then a drive along the lake will be a search for wading birds, maybe a snail kite or two.  From there it’s about a 2 hr drive home.  Please contact sandy.reed@tampaaudubon.org  to receive updates, meeting locations and lodging options closer to trip.
Sat 4/14 Lettuce Lake 9 am – Beginning Bird Walk, Everyone Welcome!  Meet in the parking lot by the Visitor’s Center in Lettuce Lake Park at 9 am.  We’ll walk the boardwalk or trails, depending on where the best birds are.  We have binoculars to loan, and someone will have a spotting scope so you can get up really close and personal!  Bring water, snack. Entrance fee for park $2.  Done by 11 am. For info contact leader Mary Keith at mary.keith@tampaaudubon.org

Sat 4/21 Cockroach Bay 8 am – Meet in the parking lot of Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve, 3938 Gulf City Road, Ruskin.  We’ll walk to the ‘mountain’, then along the marsh and through the trees.  Waders include stilts, ibis, and more.  Passerines include brown thrashers, migrating warblers, cuckoos, and an eagle or two.  Bring water, hat, snacks.  Contact leader for more details. mary.keith@tampaaudubon.org

Sat 4/28 Ft DeSoto 7:30 am - Meet at flagpole at the ranger station.  Finished by 2 pm.  Driving to various hotspots within Ft D, easy hiking up to 1 ½ miles at some locations. Hoping to catch spring migrants and maybe a fallout at this popular warbler hangout. Local favorites and over wintering shorebirds at lagoon. Dress for weather, bugs, sunscreen, hat! Bring lunch! Contact leader sandy.reed@tampaaudubon.org for details.

May 2018

Sat 5/5 Colony Watch, Lake Forest 5:30 pm  – Meet at the Lake Forest Clubhouse parking lot located at 14735 Lake Forest Dr., Lutz, FL 33559 (off Bruce B Downs Blvd) to learn about wading bird colonies and Project Colony Watch.  This is the Lake Forest Colony.  We should be there for around an hour plus.  Then for anyone who wants we are meeting at Chik-fil-A for dinner at 3019 Cove Bend, Tampa, FL 33613 which is very close to the colony.  Any questions please email Cheryl Merz at Cheryl.merz@tampaaudubon.com  or call at 813-541-8217.
Sat 5/12 Lettuce Lake 9 am Spring NAMC (North American Migration Count) Beginning Bird Walk, Everyone Welcome!  Meet in the parking lot by the Visitor’s Center in Lettuce Lake Park at 9 am.  We’ll walk the boardwalk or trails, depending on where the best birds are.  We have binoculars to loan, and someone will have a spotting scope so you can get up really close and personal!  Bring water, snack. Entrance fee for park $2.  Done by 11 am. For info contact leader Megan Campbell at megan.campbell@tampaaudubon.org

Sat 5/19 Moccasin Lake Nature Park, Clearwater 10:30 am – Meet at Moccasin Lake Nature Park, 2750 Park Trail Lane, Clearwater, FL 33759.  We will be introduced to the Birds of Prey Program and some raptors will be brought out for us to see outside of their enclosures.  There are also nice trails to go birding on.  We will spend about 2 hours there and they have a nice picnic area under cover and anyone who wants to join us for a picnic lunch, please do.  Please bring your own lunch for the picnic lunch.  Any questions please email Cheryl Merz at Cheryl.merz@tampaaudubon.org or call 813-541-8217.

May 28-31 - Tampa Audubon Birds Western Virginia in the Spring, Highland County, WV - Come see spring warblers in full spring color! Find some northern birds you don't usually see here. We'll be birding in northwestern Virginia, Highland County, up on the ridges of the Appalachian mountains, with a leading local birder, Dr. John Spahr. For full details and to reserve, click here.

June 2018

Sat 6/9 Lettuce Lake 8 am – Beginning Bird Walk - Everyone Welcome!  Meet in the parking lot by the Visitor’s Center in Lettuce Lake Park at 8 am.  We’ll walk the boardwalk or trails, depending on where the best birds are.  We have binoculars to loan, and someone will have a spotting scope so you can get up really close and personal!  Bring water, snack. Entrance fee for park $2.  Done by 11 am. For info contact leader Mary Keith at mary.keith@tampaaudubon.org.

July 2018

Sat 7/14 Lettuce Lake 8 am – Beginning Bird Walk - Everyone Welcome!  Meet in the parking lot by the Visitor’s Center in Lettuce Lake Park at 8 am.  We’ll walk the boardwalk or trails, depending on where the best birds are.  We have binoculars to loan, and someone will have a spotting scope so you can get up really close and personal!  Bring water, snack. Entrance fee for park $2.  Done by 11 am. For info contact leader Mary Keith at mary.keith@tampaaudubon.org.

Wed 7/18  Joint Meeting with Sierra & Native Plant 6 pmTAS hosts Meet at the Extension Office, 5339 CR 579, Seffner.  Potluck dinner, then presentation.  Speaker to be announced.

August 2018

Sat 8/11 Lettuce Lake 8 am – Beginning Bird Walk - Everyone Welcome!  Meet in the parking lot by the Visitor's Center in Lettuce Lake Park at 8 am.  We'll walk the boardwalk or trails, depending on where the best birds are.  We have binoculars to loan, and someone will have a spotting scope so you can get up really close and personal!  Bring water, snack. Entrance fee for park $2.  Done by 11 am. For info contact leader Mary Keith at mary.keith@tampaaudubon.org.