Bird-Watching Bliss: Discovering St. Petersburg’s Bird Life Near Our CCRC

Here at Westminster Palms, we’re fortunate to be situated right next to vibrant natural areas that attract a wonderful variety of birds. As a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in St. Petersburg, FL, we enable our residents to enjoy comfortable independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care while still having access to the natural splendors of this region.

For those who love birdwatching, our proximity to places like Boyd Hill Nature Preserve and Sawgrass Lake Park means there’s always an opportunity to spot beautiful native and migratory birds right in our own backyard. As avid birders ourselves, we delight in guiding Westminster residents of all activity levels to prime birdwatching spots nearby. We’ve discovered nearly 200 species that either call this area home or make migratory pit stops in the bountiful wetlands and forests surrounding us.

Join us as we uncover some of best places near our St. Petersburg CCRC to spot gorgeous herons, egrets, woodpeckers, warblers, and even the occasional bald eagle!

Sawgrass Lake Park

One of our community’s favorite birdwatching spots is Sawgrass Lake Park, a 715 acre county park with a rich variety of ecosystems. Located just over a mile away from Westminster Palms, it’s easily accessible for our residents. The park contains Florida’s largest hectare of wetlands under single ownership – a major draw for diverse water birds and waders. Embarked on one of the park’s boardwalk trails through marshy areas lined with tall grasses, you’re likely to spot stately great blue herons stealthily spearing fish. Look upwards, and you may catch sight of a bald eagle coasting on air currents, keeping an eye out for unwary prey below.

During winter months, the park receives migratory visitors like the tricolored heron, little blue heron, reddish egret, and snowy egret feeding alongside year-round inhabitants. The park provides critical resting habitat for species traveling to and from North and South America. Residents have cataloged over 150 species at Sawgrass Lake, making it one of the best local birding sites. Its mixed environments attract both wetland species and forest dwellers like the pileated woodpecker and red-bellied woodpecker.

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, spanning 245 acres, contains a hardwood hammock, pine flatwoods, lake and marsh habitat frequented by over 150 species of birds. Westminster residents adore exploring the park’s trails and spotting feathered locals like the anhinga, belted kingfisher, and barred owl.

The park’s lake attracts diving birds like the pied-billed grebe and horned grebe during winter. Birders can observe these water birds’ fascinating hunting behaviors, like the “water dance” ritual grebes perform when courting mates. Migratory duck species common to Boyd Hill lake are ring-necked ducks, ruddy ducks and hooded mergansers.

During spring and fall migrations, the park becomes especially lively with neotropical migrants. Warbler species like the Cape May warbler, prairie warbler, palm warbler, yellow warbler and American redstart can be seen flitting through trees and feeding on insects. Late April brings peak viewing opportunities. Local birding enthusiasts organize weekly outings, sharing sightings and welcoming residents of all experience levels to join.

Weedon Island Preserve

Weedon Island Preserve contains miles of unpaved trails showcasing coastal hammock, mangrove swamp and an extensive system of boardwalks perfect for birding. This preserve comprise over 4,000 acres of Tampa Bay habitat. Birders willing to make the trip might glimpse the striking reddish egret fishing in shallows or a sooty tern resting on an empty stretch of sand after journeying all the way from the Caribbean. Birding tours are an easy way for Westminster residents with limited mobility to access these rich birding hotspots.

Fort De Soto Park

Fort De Soto Park occupies five interconnected islands with over 1,100 acres of unspoiled beaches and wetlands attracting over 340 documented bird species. Although it’s one of the most popular recreation destinations in Pinellas County, many visitors stick to the main beaches, leaving expansive natural areas quiet for avid birders. The park is another convenient go-to locale favored by our residents.

Fort De Soto features crucial stopover habitat during spring and fall migrations, when flocks numbering in the hundreds of brown pelicans, cormorants, terns, gulls, sandpipers and plovers descend upon its shores and mud flats to rest and feed. Birders might spot rarer species like the reddish egret or buff-breasted sandpiper mixed amidst large congregations of shorebirds.

The park’s inland mangrove forests, tidal pools and scrub habitat boast entirely different species from the beaches, like white ibis, roseate spoonbills, black skimmers and the striking painted bunting.

Birding at a St. Petersburg CCRC with Westminster

Here at Westminster Palms, we feel incredibly fortunate to reside minutes from St. Petersburg’s most beautiful birdwatching hotspots and migration flyways. As a CCRC enabling comfortable living across all levels of care, we empower our residents to continue pursuing lifelong hobbies they feel passionate about, even when daily activities might become more challenging.

Birding opportunities will never run out living beside places like Sawgrass Lake Park, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve and Fort De Soto Park. For seniors seeking an engaging lifestyle surrounded by nature’s splendors, Westminster Palms provides living accommodations paired with easy access to the region’s vibrant habitats and conservation initiatives.

Learn more about our CCRC by visiting our website or calling to speak with a retirement living consultant today. We can’t wait to see you discovering your new home’s natural side!

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