John S. Taylor Park
JOHN S. TAYLOR PARK
This beautiful, little park is under-birded, but still has produced just over 175 verified species. It certainly has produced good birds for those have visited it regularly. Site rarities have included Solitary Sandpiper, Least Flycatcher, Cliff Swallow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Song Sparrow, Ruddy Duck and Canvasback. There are plenty of oaks all along the park’s main road to check for spring and fall migrants. In just under a half mile you’ll cross a small bridge with the larger section of Lake Taylor on your right and the smaller section on your left. Lots of American Coots winter here and Common Gallinules are found in all seasons. After crossing the bridge park in the lot on your left and explore the woodlands around you.
FALL: Like all of Pinellas’ oak-filled parks migrants can be found from mid-August through October. You may have to check several different locations to find them, but there’s usually a few around even on a slow day. Check out over the lake for migrant swallows.
WINTER: Besides the scores of coots it always fun to see if a duck or two can be found. Blue-winged Teal is the expected winter visitor, but a scattering of others always makes it worth to stop and check. Pure Mottled Ducks haven’t been reported in a few years so don’t let the hybrid Mallard x Mottled Ducks fool you. Anhinga, Laughing Gulls and Forster’s Terns are seen around the lake in winter.
SPRING: There have been a few Wood Duck sightings in early March and, occasionally, an oddball or two stop in for a day or two before moving north. Purple Gallinules have been seen here in the past and it takes patience to check through the lilly pad patches to find one. In recent years both Short-tailed Hawk and Swallow-tailed Kite have been reported more frequently, so it is possible they may be nesting nearby. Keep looking up.
SUMMER: Again, look up for kites and hawks and check closely the lily pads for Purple Gallinules. Other breeding species found here include Carolina Wren, Pileated Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, Northern Parula and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.
INSIDER TIPS: This park is always worth a visit during the late winter season when ducks may be present or an early-returning Swallow-tailed Kite or Short-tailed Hawk can be seen. Nanday Parakeets are resident in the area and are usually seen near the park’s entrance on the wires.