Kapok Park

Kapok Park

This fairly new city-owned park has a paved trail and boardwalk, approx. a half mile in length. It circles the park and also drops down and over a pond. There is a good amount of vegetation around the pond which hold birds, especially in winter, as well as a grove of large oaks by the pond, and an oak hammock near the parking lot (migrants and wintering passerines). Site highlights have included Short-tailed Hawk overhead, a Gadwall at the pond, a Western Kingbird in late winter 2009, a Purple Gallinule during June 2011 and 2012, and the occasional Sandhill Crane. The entire park can easily be covered in two hours.

FALL: The best bet during this time of year is to check the oak hammock found at the north side of the park’s only parking lot. It’s a short trail, but stop often and listen. Red-eyed and White-eyed Vireos are often reported here, as well as the expected warblers and resident birds.

WINTER: Walk down to the pond and check the pond edges for Least and American Bittern, Sora, Virginia Rail and Swamp Sparrow. They all occur here. Traverse back and forth for an hour or so and you’ll most certainly be rewarded.

SPRING: Northern Flicker is regular here and so listen for it immediately after getting out of your vehicle. Other woodpecker species which are resident include Red-bellied, Downy and Pileated. A pair of Great Horned Owls once utilized the oak grove by the pond for nesting and may again return. There’s not a lot of trees to hold many spring migrants, but the oak hammock near the parking lot should be checked anyway. You just never know. You’ll surely find resident birds such as Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wren and Tufted Titmouse.

SUMMER: The birding is slow here in summer, but there’s lots of sky to scan for Short-tailed Hawk and Swallow-tailed Kite, while birds found around the pond would include Least Bittern, Common Gallinule, Green Heron, Boat-tailed Grackle and Red-winged Blackbird.

INSIDER TIPS: There are NO restrooms at this park and very little shade except in the hammock. The best month to find the highest number of birds is probably September when a few migrants could drop in.