N95. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve
Nearest City: St. Petersburg
Phone Number: 727-893-7326
Website: N95. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve
Features/Amenities: Some viewing is barrier free, Restrooms, Entrance fee required, Good for beginners, Tours, educational signage and/or nature center, Birding by boat, Birding by foot/hiking, Birding by bicycle, Best time of day: Morning, Recommended length of visit: a few hours, Camping, Butterfly viewing br>
Habitats: Freshwater Swamp, Freshwater Marsh/Wetlands, Pines, Lake/Pond/Impoundment, Scrub, Hardwoods/Mixed Forest
A pleasant surprise in urban St. Petersburg awaits you on the shores of Lake Maggiore. This preserve has 6 miles of trails and boardwalks, plus lakefront access, hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods, upland scrub, freshwater swamp and a freshwater marsh. Boyd Hill’s trails are popular, so weekday mornings are the best time to visit. The Lake Maggiore Environmental Education Center has exhibits and an aviary with rehabilitated birds of prey; educational programs and tram tours are offered (call or check the preserve’s website for details). Vertebrate and butterfly checklists can be picked up at the center, including a special one just for kids to help them record their discoveries and to improve their observation skills. A free birding walk leaves the library at 8:00 AM on the first Saturday of each month.
Boyd Hill Nature Preserve supports more than 60 species of reptiles and amphibians, including Eastern Narrowmouth Toad, Southern Leopard Frog, Gopher Tortoise, Florida Box Turtle and Little Brown Skink (Ground Skink). Approximately 60 species of Lepidopterans have been found on the preserve, including Giant Swallowtail, Sleepy Orange, Soldier, Southern Oak Hairstreak and Ocola Skipper. Some common butterflies of spring, summer and fall are Spicebush Swallowtail, Dainty Sulphur, Little Yellow, Zebra Heliconian and Monarch. Cassius Blue and White Peacock are the only two species commonly seen here in winter (check the butterfly garden and the main trail, respectively). An excellent butterfly checklist with location codes is available, and will help you determine when and where on the preserve grounds you are most likely to encounter each species. Watch for mammals (and their signs) such as Marsh Rabbit, Sherman’s Fox Squirrel and Gray Fox.
Year-round, common denizens like Green Heron, Osprey, Common Gallinule, Eastern Screech-Owl and Downy Woodpecker appeal to anyone who likes to watch or study bird behavior. Limpkin, King Rail and Virginia Rail are uncommon but regular visitors to the preserve’s waters and wetlands much of the year. Kentucky, Cerulean, Blackburnian, Bay-breasted and Wilson’s Warblers have been recorded here during fall migration, as have Ash-throated Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, Lark Sparrow, Bobolink and Baltimore Oriole. Blue-headed Vireo, Hermit Thrush, American Kestrel and Eastern Whip-poor-will are present in winter, as are Wilson’s Snipe and American Woodcock (though less likely to be seen).
Directions: From I-275 in St. Petersburg, take exit 17 (left exit if northbound) and drive east on 54th Ave. S for 1.9 mi. Turn left (north) on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd./9th St. S and continue for 0.4 mi. to Country Club Way S. Turn left (west); the entrance is 0.2 mi. ahead on the right, at the library.
Open Tuesday – Friday and Sunday, 9 AM to 7 PM; Saturday 7 AM to 7 PM.
Closes at 6 PM, November – February.
Closed Monday and selected major holidays.
Location: 27.724365° N, -82.649850° W