Fort De Soto Park (Gateway)

3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, 33715
(727) 582-2267
sunrise to sunset

Fort De Soto Park

This gateway trail site is one of the most popular birding destinations in the United States. More than 330 species of birds have been sighted here! The park consists of five interconnected keys with mangroves, wetlands, hardwood/palm hammocks, mudflats and nearly 3 miles of sandy beach. Visitors can enjoy the paddling trail, a paved hike-and-bike trail, campground, picnic areas, two fishing piers, boat launch and ferry service to Egmont Key National Wildlife Refuge. Enter the park, drive south past the campground to the T-intersection and turn left, then immediately right to reach the visitor center. Check the recent sightings log, and pick up a park map and bird finding guide/checklist. Loaner binoculars are available. During migration, bird the East Beach Woods, the mulberry trees east of the Bay Pier and the Arrowhead Picnic Area; 40+ species of wood-warbler have been recorded! Also, bird the fig trees and the wooded patch beside the visitor center and the paved Nature Trail (ADA-compliant, with rest areas and benches). The park is superb for wildlife photography. Roseate Spoonbills and Reddish Egrets feed on the flats, and both night-herons hunt for fish and crabs in the wetlands and mangroves. 20+ species of shorebird have been recorded and there are always lots of gulls and terns to enjoy. Fort De Soto is famous for attracting major rarities; in the last 15 years, Curlew Sandpiper, Razorbill, Heerman’s Gull, Thayer’s Gull, Elegant Tern, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Thick-billed Vireo, Yellow-green Vireo, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Kirtland’s Warbler, and Bananaquit have been recorded.

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