Boca Ciega Millennium Park
BOCA CIEGA MILLENNIUM PARK
Several bird-producing habitats is the key feature of this 184-acre Pinellas county park. It is situated right along the intracoastal waterway and during low tide birders have opportunities to see many of the typical wading birds, gulls and terns. The wooded areas of the park features hardwoods, pines and even a couple of small ponds. Local birders know that this a great spot in late spring for Connecticut Warbler.
FALL: Due to its location BC Millennium can often produce lots of migrants during September and early October, especially when rain storms/tropical depressions blow inland from the Gulf. Look for Acadian Flycatcher, Tennessee, Chestnut-sided and Blackburnian Warblers as well as Eastern Wood-Pewee and Summer and Scarlet Tanagers. Watch for small flocks of Indigo Buntings and Blue Grosbeaks along the park’s main road as you drive in.
WINTER: The woodlands host the expected winter season birds and occasionally a wintering Black-throated Green Warbler or Golden-crowned Kinglet, such as the winter of 2016-17 did. But it’s the boardwalk and lookout tower along the intracoastal where you want to concentrate your efforts. When the tide is low check the resting gulls and terns closely for something out of the ordinary and look for Red-breasted Mergansers and Lesser Scaup.
SPRING: Migrant passerines are the attraction in spring. Starting in late March expect Prothonotary, Hooded and Worm-eating warblers. With luck as the season progresses you may come across a Kentucky or Swainson’s Warbler. In May Blackpoll Warblers can often be common and by the second week of the month Connecticut Warblers are on local birders’ minds.
SUMMER: Nesting summer species include Eastern Towhee, Northern Cardinal, Great Crested Flycatcher, Carolina Wren, Northern Flicker, Northern Parula, Great Horned Owl and Clapper Rail, most often encountered by the tower area along the intracoastal.
INSIDER TIPS: After entering the park you’ll drive a good quarter mile before you find the first parking area on your left. Go to its end and walk the nature trail for migrants which starts just past the restroom building and Shelter #5. The tower can be found by turning left into the first parking area you see and drive to its end. Any place you stop you’ll see oaks and other hardwoods and there may be a migrant in any one of them.