Alfred A. McKethan / Pine Island Park


Though small, this county park is one of the best sites in Hernando County; 160+ species of birds have been recorded. Walk the sandy beach, scanning the mudflats for Forster’s, Royal and Caspian Terns, gulls such as Laughing are present year round and both Herring and Bonaparte’s may be present in winter. Short-billed Dowitcher, Dunlin, Marbled Godwit and Western Sandpiper gather in winter and during migration species such as American Avocet and Semipalmated Sandpiper are often encountered. In summer, look skyward for Magnificent Frigatebirds, and check the shallows for Reddish Egrets. Listen for Marsh Wren and Clapper Rail in the salt marsh on the drive in, and check for wintering Horned Grebes, Bufflehead and Common Loon in the open water from the observation deck. The park has an impressive rarity list; Common Merganser (1999), Razorbill (2012), and Sooty Tern (2016) have been spotted. This family-friendly site has great amenities and is a must visit if you’re looking to add coastal species to your Hernando County list.

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