Where Do You Want to Go Birding Today?
Here are some good Palm Beach County sites to check out:
Belle Glade Campground – Western end of Lake Rd.(W. Canal St. N.) in Belle Glade. The area in and around this privately owned campground has been a good location for wintering Buntings, Grosbeaks and Orioles and resident Smooth-billed Anis. Also occasionally seen in the vicinity bordering the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee are Western Kingbirds and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. The campground was nearly destroyed by the hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, and the site is in transition. Location Map (The Clewiston Inn has birding packages for those interested in staying in the area and using this historic site as their base of operations.)
Boynton Inlet. Located on A1A in Ocean Ridge. This site is the best place to watch for pelagic species blown landward on an easterly wind; Bridled Tern, Arctic Tern, and many other seabirds have been spotted here. They have a webcam set up as well.
Frenchman’s Forest Natural Area – Prosperity Farms Road between PGA Boulevard and Donald Ross Road in North Palm Beach. This 150-acre site showcases many of south Florida’s native habitats. It has a pond, a canal, a hydric hammock, and pine areas. The site can be quite good during migration: the last Western Spindalis on an official ASE field trip was spotted at this site in October 2004. Location Map.
Green Cay Wetlands and Nature Center – Over 1.5 miles of boardwalk trails through constructed wetlands in Boynton Beach. Interpretive signs and a nature center introduce visitors to the common wetland species of Florida. Established in 2004, Black-necked Stilts have nested, as have Mottled Ducks and numerous other Florida species. Location Map
Hungryland Slough – A trail and boardwalk traversing pine flatlands and cypress swamp. Located within the J. W. Corbett Recreational Area. The entrance is located west of Seminole- Pratt Whitney Rd. 3 miles north of Northlake Blvd. Location map
J. W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area – This large (60,000+ acre) site located off of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road in northern Palm Beach County is one of the busiest camping and hunting areas in Palm Beach County, but it is also home to the last established colony of Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers in the county. (The neighboring Dupuis site is reintroducing the bird, with fair success.) Pine woods and marshy areas abound in this region. Access to the Florida Trail is one of the highlights of the area. In 2007, biologist Jim Schuette recorded Western Spindalis on the site; the furthest inland the bird has ever been recorded. Location Map
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park – Located east of A1A north of Singer Island. One of the few remaining examples of subtropical coastal habitat in Palm Beach County. As such, it is a good location for migratory birds and also Caribbean strays. Western Spindalis (formerly known as Stripe-headed Tanager), La Sagra’s Flycatcher and Thick-billed Vireo have been seen here. Location Map
John Prince Park – Entrance is east off Congress Ave. south of 6th Ave. So. in Lake Worth.This is an excellent location to see Limpkins and Monk Parakeets. Also, the Nature Trail near the campground entrance is a good spot to check for passerines. Location Map (Nature trail and campground are at the southern entrance, off Congress.)
Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge – Just west of US 441 on Lee Rd., Boynton Beach. 221 sq. miles of everglades habitat. Visit the Marsh Trail and the Cypress Boardwalk. No birding trip to Palm Beach County is complete without a stop here. Location Map
Okeeheelee Park and nature center – One mile west of Jog Road on Forest Hill Blvd., this site can be very good in migration, but the star attractions are the wintering Painted Buntings at the bird feeder, and the resident breeding Wood Ducks. Location Map
Peaceful Waters Park. Directions: West on Forest Hill; continue across 441. Continue to Stribling Road and turn left (south) and go .9 miles. Turn right onto Fairlane Farms Road and take and almost immediate right on to Peirson Road, go .6 mile to Wellington Village Park entrance. The wetlands parking is near the restroom for ball fields #13-16.
Riverbend Park – This 680-acre park in Jupiter is a popular area for canoeists to enter the Loxahatchee River for the float down to Trapper Nelson’s and Jonathan Dickinson State Park. It’s also a pretty good spot to bird – Sandhill Cranes, Wild Turkeys, and numerous warblers in migration. Location Map
Spanish River Park – Perhaps the best location in the county for migrating passerines. The park is on the west side of A1A just south of Spanish River Blvd., Boca Raton. Like MacArthur Park, this is also a good place to find Caribbean strays (which have included Bananaquit, Stripe-headed Tanager, Cuban Pewee and Bahama Mockingbird). Location Map
Stormwater Treatment Areas 1E and 1W – These twin 6500+ acre sites include levee trails for hiking and biking, offering photographers and bird watchers outstanding views of very large impoundments suitable for wading birds and waterfowl. Both sites are open Friday through Monday, from dawn to dusk. Driving directions: STA-1 E is located on SR80, about 10 miles west of SR7 and 1 mile east of the gigantic S-5A pump station. STA-1 W is a bit farther west, off of CR880. From the 80/880 intersection, go west on 880 for about 2.5 miles. Here is a map of all the STAs, courtesy of the South Florida Water Management District.
Wakodahatchee Wetlands – The entrance is on the east side of Jog Rd. between Woolbright Blvd. and Atlantic Ave. This new park features a mile-long boardwalk from which good views may be had of various wading birds and waterfowl. A Short-eared Owl has been seen here. Location Map
Yamato Scrub – Entrance is on the north side of Clint Moore Road in Boca Raton. This new (trails opened to the public in October 2007) area is an excellent mix of pine woods, scrub areas, and marshy ponds. The ponds are the main draw at the moment, as a nesting pair of Least Grebes was found here in September 2008. Location Map