One of the many hobbies older adults enjoy during their retirement years is the soothing and surprisingly exciting act of birdwatching. Whether you’re an aspiring ornithologist or just enjoy casually watching nature, you’ll love birdwatching in Hillsborough, FL! Here are the best birdwatching spots in Hillsborough County that are a must-visit for any birdwatching enthusiasts.
Bahia Beach Nature Preserve
Winding between two ponds, Bahia Beach Nature Preserve’s Wetland Walk 1.4-mile hiking trail is a perfect spot for any birdwatcher. Hillsborough County restored this property in 2001, converting the area into an ecologically functional wetland that helps to purify water flowing into nearby salt marshes. Another great side effect of this purification is that this location is an attractive environment for its resident birds, as well as migratory species. This hiking trail allows visitors to witness an abundance of different bird types, especially waterfowl.
Cockroach Bay Nature Preserve
Hillsborough County’s The Cockroach Bay Ecosystem Restoration Project is one of the most intricate and largest coastal ecosystem restoration projects ever accomplished in Tampa Bay, spanning over 20 years. This expansive property of over 500 acres in size used to suffer from a great deal of environmental issues, such as poor water quality and invasive plant infestations. Thankfully, restoration efforts have made Cockroach Bay Preserve into the bountiful fishing and birding spot it is today, where birdwatchers can spot species such as the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck and Eurasian Collared-Dove.
Edward Medard Conservation Park
The main attraction Edward Medard Conservation Park has to offer is a stunning 700-acre reservoir, which is a paradise for equestrians, hikers, and birdwatchers. The park’s Singing Bluffs hiking trail is also home to wading birds and other interesting instances of wildlife, making it a popular birdwatching hotspot. One particularly noteworthy highlight of this area is that it’s known to be a nesting and breeding ground for vultures. In this park, you’ll find a variety of resident and migratory bird species such as the Great Egret, White Ibis, and Gray-headed Swamphen.
Fred & Idah Schultz Nature Preserve
While the Fred & Idah Schultz Preserve is a humble 134 acres, this area is teeming with abundant wildlife. Here you’ll find beautifully restored habitats: mangrove forest, coastal dunes, coastal and freshwater marsh, and uplands. Depending on when you visit, you may be able to spot migrating neotropical songbirds such as warblers and wood thrushes, such as in springtime.
Golden Aster Scrub Nature Preserve
The Golden Aster Scrub Nature Preserve is a great representation of nature in Florida, featuring several ecosystems throughout its 3-mile trail. This 1,181-acre nature preserve is a great spot for birdwatchers because it gives you the opportunity to catch a glimpse of certain rare bird species such as the Florida Scrub Jay, Florida’s only endemic bird species. Furthermore, you can also find rare fauna such as the Florida Golden Aster.
With so many area attractions to appreciate in the area, there’s no wonder why so many people are drawn to retirement life in Hillsborough County. If you or a loved one may be interested in retiring here, consider our retirement community’s senior living options in Tampa, FL!