I think that it’s pretty obvious at this point that my two biggest passions in life are camping and bird watching. There’s nothing I love more than discovering a new location with a prime camping spot and beautiful birds that I can look out for. It started out with me looking through the window at home with binoculars, trying to identify the local birds in my backyard. Then, I started taking weekend trips to new places to find new birds. And now, I can go on weeklong camping trips to hunt for a specific rare bird! I bought a caravan, portable washing machines, cooking equipment, and much more to make my life easier but I still enjoy finding campsites with nice facilities to make sure I have a pleasant time. Anyway, I recently had a very enjoyable time at E. G. Simmons Park.
This park is an excellent, easily accessed family friendly site, with several camping options available. Mangroves, sheltered mudflats and sandy beachfront habitats showcase some of Tampa Bay’s best waterbird-watching action. Watch Reddish Egrets looking for fish in the park’s shallows, Ospreys and Brown Pelicans diving for their meals, and Roseate Spoonbills sweeping their tactile bills through the shallow waters. Wintering shorebirds like American Avocets and Western Sandpipers are common on the park’s beach and flats, and flocks of Black Skimmers gather on the sand.
A variety of landbirds can be spotted in the higher elevation habitats-scattered hammocks and patches of pines and palms are located throughout the park. Loggerhead Shrikes are likely to be seen here, as well as Gray Kingbirds, Great Horned Owls, and Common Ground-Doves. Take advantage of the kayak launch (and rentals if you don’t have your own) to paddle your way around the mangroves and the bay in search of waterbirds and manatees; you can also kayak southward to nearby Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve for a longer adventure.