27 Apr · Admin · No Comments

Bird-watching in Tarpon Springs: Year-Round Fun

If you’re staying with us at Hickory Point RV Park, then a love of nature is required! Florida’s Gulf Coast abounds with all types of nature and wildlife, but bird-watching is one activity that is easy and fun for everyone.

 

Learn a little more about what types of birds make their home in this area, along with some interesting ornithological history of Tarpon Springs.

 

Local Birds to Watch in Tarpon Springs

 

We have a wide variety of birds in this area: shore and wading birds, birds of prey, warblers and backyard species to name a few.

 

The Bald Eagle is one of the most majestic you can see here:

 

Bald Eagle © Ken F Tracey

Bald Eagle

Near the water, you’ll find Brown Pelicans, Great Egrets, Osprey, and Roseate Spoonbills.

 

Brown Pelican © Ken F Tracey

Brown Pelican

 

Great Egret © Ken F Tracey

Great Egret

 

Osprey © Ken F Tracey

Osprey

 

Roseate Spoonbill © Ken F Tracey

Roseate Spoonbill

 

Other birds in the area include: the Red Shoulder Hawk, Screech Owl, and Cardinal.

 

Red-shouldered Hawk © Ken F Tracey

Red-shouldered Hawk

 

Screech-Owl © Ken F Tracey

Screech-Owl

 

Northern Cardinal © Ken F Tracey

Northern Cardinal

In addition, be on the lookout for:

 

Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, TriColored Heron, Blue Jays, Mockingbirds, Great Crested Flycatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Black-Crowned Night-Heron, Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron, Double Crested Cormorant, and more…

 

Learn a little bird-watching history of our local area:

 

Ornithological History of Tarpon Springs

 

William Earle Dodge Scott was a researcher who documented and explored the Florida Gulf coast 3 different times in the late 1880’s.  His book details his fascinating experiences, especially in the Tarpon Springs area.

 

William Earle Dodge Scott book

 

He was a professor at Princeton University and maintained an aviary there so students could have a first-hand experience with birds.  In Florida, William Earle Dodge Scott documented the loss of wading bird rookeries (including birds now extinct) and discovered and named several new species.

 

One important new species he found was the Gulf Coast Seaside Sparrow, which now bears his name: the Scott’s Seaside Sparrow.

 

Scott's Seaside Sparrow © Ken F Tracey

Scott’s Seaside Sparrow

 

Although he found several of these sparrows along the Anclote River here, nesting pairs were not discovered again until 1932 (3 miles north of Hickory Point RV Park).

 

The Florida Wildlife Commission continues to protect the Scott’s Seaside Sparrow as an endangered species, thanks in part to local birding expert Ken Tracey, who conducted and published an extensive study on the sparrows in our area.

 

Scotts Seaside Sparrow Study by Ken F Tracey

 

Learn more about Ken here: KenFTracey.com (and say hello if you see him around the park as he is one of our local photographers).

 

Another bird that Scott discovered and named is the Marian’s Marsh Wren (named after his wife).

 

Marian's Marsh Wren © Ken F Tracey

Marian’s Marsh Wren

 

This wren builds a unique nest with a side entrance and several chambers that allow the young to hide inside if a snake enters.

 

Enjoy your bird-watching adventures in Tarpon Springs and the parks near Hickory Point RV Park!

 

Here are some great resources to help:

 

Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail: 2,000 mile self-guided highway trail in the state: http://floridabirdingtrail.com/

Pasco and Pinellas county sites on the Birding Trail: http://floridabirdingtrail.com/trail/trail-sections/west-section/

Florida State Parks: https://www.floridastateparks.org/

Florida Audubon Chapters: http://fl.audubon.org

Florida Ornithological Society: http://www.fosbirds.org/

The Story of a Bird Lover by Willian Earle Dodge Scott on Amazon 

 

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