Aug. 14, 2023
By Mary Miller, Bluebird Trail Coordinator
The final overall total number of fledglings for the 2023 nesting season for the following seven Bluebird Trails is: 423 fledglings (354 Bluebirds, 43 Carolina Chickadees, 24 Titmice, 2 Carolina Wrens).
Totals by Park:
Balm-Boyette Preserve: 12 TM fledglings
Hunter's Green Park: 39 fledglings (23 BB, 16 CC)
Lake Park: 137 fledglings (121 BB, 4 CC, 10 TM, 2 CW)
Lettuce Lake Park: 2 TM fledglings
MacDill AFB BB Trail: 26 BB fledglings
Sargeant's Park: 4 BB fledglings
Flatwoods Park: 203 fledglings (180 BB, 23 CC)
Flatwoods Bluebird Trail had a very good year with few missing eggs or chicks. I like to think that modifying our predator guards last autumn must have worked, because we had no snake predation this year!
Also, the Evening Bats living in our bluebird boxes last year moved out and moved into one of the 3 bat houses that we built for them last autumn!
Today, Irwin and I saw Northern Cardinals, Mourning Doves, White-eyed and Yellow-throated Vireos, an Eastern Towhee, Common Moorhens (Gallinules), and Wood Ducks. I've also included a beautiful photo (attached) of 2 Wood Storks and a Roseate Spoonbill that Clint Perigard spotted while riding the trail last week. We also saw White-tailed Deer and a Gopher Tortoise.
One native plant that was in abundance was Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata), which is the host plant of several butterflies, including the Gray Hairstreak and the Cloudless Sulphur.
Another plant that is blooming throughout the park is the Saltmarsh Fleabane or Camphorweed. (Pluchea odorata)
In summary, the success of these seven trails this year is due in large part to the following people. Thanks to:
• Bluebird Trail Monitors Joni Hartzler and Gary Krotz (Lake Park), Nancy Eydmann and Carolyn Persad, who have closed out the Balm-Boyette Preserve Trail and begun a trail at Lithia Springs Park, Sherry Keller (Lettuce Lake Park), Patricia O'Brien-Giglia (Hunter's Green Park), Roxie Custalow (Sargeant's Park), and Lynn Mitchell and Mic McCarty (MacDill AFB).
• Scott Radford, Joni Hartzler and Gary Krotz, and all our other wonderful sponsors and donors for supporting this project and providing the funds to keep the trails in good shape.
• Sherry Keller, who was unable to help me this year because of family responsibilities, but is ready to jump right in again next year.
• All the photographers, including Sherry Keller, Roxie Custalow, Irwin Schuster, George Veazey, Nedda Honig, Sally Recchia, Mike Fite, Sandy Reed, Dale Goebel, John Miller, and Clint Perigard, who have contributed photos that I can use whenever I want.
• The Flatwoods Park staff, especially Senior Park Manager Rodney Petty, and Rangers Clint Perigard (who has just retired), and Dixie Morgan, who are very protective of the bluebirds and all other wildlife at Flatwoods Park and are always willing to help at a moment's notice.
• My loyal volunteers, including Roxie Custalow, Irwin Schuster, Colleen Malone, Clint Perigard, who are ready to help keep the trail in good shape for the birds. With my foot surgery, I would never have made it through the nesting season without Irwin and Roxie!
• Last, but not least, is my husband, John, who always lends a hand when I need it!
I am already preparing for the 2024 nesting season, and in January, I will notify Tampa Audubon Society members and all past sponsors to let them know it's time to sign up again for 2024. Thanks again for your support and I'll look forward to hearing from you again next year!