Today is the first day of monitoring on the 56 box Flatwoods Park Bluebird Trail for the 2021 nesting season! Every year the nesting season begins in March and ends around the middle of August. We are off to a very good start with 11 partial or complete nests (5 bluebird, 4 Carolina chickadee, 2 tufted titmouse). See attached spreadsheet for full details. At the bottom of the spreadsheet is a legend that tells you what everything means. P is for partial nest; C is for complete nest. And there is an X in the bird column to tell you the species of bird in that nest. In the comment section is included any pertinent information about that box. Bluebird nearby, means that bluebirds are checking out that box. So right now, there is plenty of activity on the trail in many of the boxes. I've included a picture of one of the bluebird nests, which is made of grass and pine needles, and one of the Carolina chickadee nests, which is made of green moss, mammal fur (such as rabbit), and plant material.
In addition to seeing many bluebirds along the 7 mile trail, Sherry Keller, and I saw a downy woodpecker, a red shouldered hawk, catbirds, adult and juvenile little blue herons, a wood stork, black and turkey vultures, an osprey, a cardinal, a mourning dove, eastern towhees, a house wren, and flocks of yellow-rumped and palm warblers. We also saw a large feral hog.
Even though there are not many flowering plants right now at the park, we did see some very pretty ones. I've included pictures of the bog batchelor's button (Polygala lutea), Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) vines which are blooming everywhere, and the flag pawpaw (Asimina obovata) shrub, which is the host for the zebra swallowtail butterfly.
We are off to a very good start on the bluebird trail and I owe a debt of gratitude to all the box sponsors, as well to Scott Radford and Joe and Sharon Miller for their generous donations. Your financial support enables Tampa Audubon Society to have the funds to keep the trail, with all its boxes, predator guards, and supplies for the spy-cam box, in good shape, and to print educational brochures for the public. Thank you so much!