2017-18 Calendar‎ > ‎

Field Trips & Special Events

 You're invited!  

SPAS field trips and programs are free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome. Advance registration is not required. A limited number of loaner binoculars are available - if you'd like to use SPAS equipment, please email president@stpeteaudubon.org several days in advance of the trip. 


 In the Field: Where & When 

This season  we'll be exploring some of the parks featured in The Birds of Pinellas County, by Ron Smith. 
  • All field trips begin at 8 am and last about three hours. Please plan to arrive by 7:45 am.
  • SPAS trips are free to attend, but there is a $5 per car entrance fee to Fort De Soto Park. 
  • All locations have trails comprised of grass, shell, hardpack and boardwalk. 
  • All parks have at least one flush restroom, picnic facilities and water fountains. 
  • Click the map marker or the destination for park details, meet-up locations, updates, and recent eBird sightings.

In the Field: Monthly @ Boyd Hill

SPAS invites you to join us for a guided bird walk on the first Saturday of each month at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve.

Our next walk is scheduled for April 7, 2018, 7:45 am.

Changes in parking and meet-up.
For April's walk, birders are asked to park in the reserve lot. If you enter the park from the East (off MLK) then this entrance will be the first past the main gate. If you enter from the West, then it will be just before the main gate. You will be able to access the park from the reserve lot, and we'll meet near the tram station

This is a great walk for beginners - fun and accessible  birds, well-marked trails, and a raptor aviary  - and  one that  frequently provides a surprise or two for more experienced birders. 

Regular participants  are encouraged to bring along a friend who might not otherwise get out or go birding.

Where:  1101 Country Club Way S, St. Petersburg.  Meet in front of the Nature Center.

When: 7:45 a.m.  Walks usually last about two hours,  depending upon the birds.

Cost:  Free  (park entrance fee waived)

Bring : Binoculars  (some loaner binoculars are available at front desk), hat,  water, mosquito repellent
Experience:  Novice to expert - all welcome

Walking: Trails shell, grass, hard packed, distance 1-2 miles

Restrooms: One (flush) located at the Nature Center

Directions: From U.S. 19 go east on 54th Avenue South (CR 682) for 2 miles to traffic light at M.L. King Street (9th St. S). Turn north (left) for 0.4 miles to stop light at Country Club Drive South. Turn west (left) follow to park  entrance 0.2 miles on the right.  For more information about Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, click here.

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

In the Field: STA 5 Adventure                                                                                     

Photos: Laura Packard

I spy ...When SPAS scheduled a trip to STA5 this year my birding buddies told me it was a trip not to be missed - and they were correct! STA5 can be visited only by appointment. The eBird lists for the site report more than two hundred species in and out of the location. My target bird was the Snail Kite, and my birding-buddy's a Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher. (So you don't spend the next five minutes on the edge of your seat wondering, we saw both.)

I was fortunate enough to be caravan-ing behind our president, Ms Judi Hopkins, and to ride with board member, Laura Witt-Packard. Ms. Judi saw to it that we left early enough the day prior to  bird our way down to Clewiston - beginning around the back door to Myakka State Park and winding our way through the back roads between there and STA5. The birding was good, and birding outside the confines of a park fun, and we listed a fair number of the usual suspects. The real treat for me, though, was that Laura spotted a Fox Squirrel, which I'd only seen once before, and that time only briefly. This time, I had a nice long look as we were able to watch him bounding through a field and then across the road (Be careful, Little Guy!) and into the woods.

Glossy Ibis

This was my first time stopping in - as opposed to driving through - Clewiston. Our accommodations were surprisingly nice for a town that is, according to the Google lady, fifty miles from the nearest Publix. During dinner, we organized the group into car parties so that we took as few vehicles as possible into the preserve. Ms. Judi had arranged for the hotel to open their breakfast bar early just for SPAS, and next morning, well-fed, our caravan headed out into the dark. There had been some breakfast talk about catching sight an owl on the way - and on cue one flew low over the cane fields, though not everyone got a look.

At STA5, we were met by Henry Glades Audubon, and told that an Ani had been seen recently - right there in the car park. I'm not sure if anyone in the group spotted it - I was focused on the beginnings of a beautiful sunrise....and my search for a Snail Kite. The trip through STA5 was a joy. Most of the tracks are one car-width only, so the wildlife is very, very close. Shorebirds were abundant, including more Glossy Ibis than I'd ever seen at once. Ms. Judi was on the watch for American Bittern, and found us more than one. We were also fortunate to catch both the Black-bellied and the Fulvous Whistling Ducks - in flight and in the water. Each car was equipped with a walkie, so we were all able to benefit from the eagle-eyed spotting of some of the more experienced birders in the convoy. Grey-headed Swamphen were target birds for a lot of the birders, and though it took some digging, they finally made an appearance. Raptors were ever present - a couple of the Red-shouldered Hawks played guess-what-I-am with the experts in the group - and seen were Crested Caracara, Kestrel, and enough Peregrine that the catch phrase in my car eventually became "nope - just another peregrine".

Photo opp
After several hours of birding, the group met back at the car park. Some participants headed home, others to different locations, and a few of us (myself included as I was still sans a Snail Kite), reorganized into different vehicles and set back out into the preserve. The birding continued to be good. My Snail Kite not only made an appearance, but was kind enough to pose long enough for everyone in our group to get a nice long look and some great photos. Did I mention that the birding continued to be good? Good enough that, when we finally made our way to the front of the park, we found ourselves locked in, and in need of rescue by a very kind officer from FWC. (Still with the mirrored sunglasses, though.) We happily found Laura her Scissor-tailed Flycatcher right outside the entrance to the preserve. Not only did we manage to avoid being run over by the gargantuan farming vehicles, the birds put on a nice show for her, so we were both able to say we ticked off our target birds.
Got locked in!

As an expedition trip, STA5/6 was definitely the don't-miss-it trip I'd been told it was. It was a privilege to be able to enter the area, and the entire event was beautifully organized and executed by our fearless leader. My thanks to everyone with whom I birded for their patience and their willingness to share information, and to my car-gang for their sense of humor.

No, Pat - that’s just another peregrine.