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Withlacoochee Croom Tract FT East Secret Entrance

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info

ROUGH DRAFT

Aug 2018
 Typical view [?]
Photo Galleries
Typical View (14)

Snapshots! (5)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
Revisit? A
Birding C *
Wildlife A
Summer Heat B
Terrain C *
Fun Hike A
Maintained B
Mosquitos C *
Biting Files B *
Ticks C
NOTE: C+
NOTE: Not grassy but slope and irregular
NOTE: C-
NOTE: B+
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: 29092 County Rd 480 W, Bushnell, FL, Hernando, USA, 33513

1) What It's Like

Dense oak forest that leads to open pine with low vegetation and interesting environment specific birds. Some hilliness to it.

2) Kinds of Birds

Pine areas the best - night hawks and red headed woodpeckers especially, some warblers etc. Oak forest some raptors (vulture, hawk, owl). True for several trails here but this is my favorite for night hawks and red headed woodpeckers.

3) Wildlife

Deer etc but more likely to see it in pine area or along road in - forest is dense otherwise. Tracks along easement.

4) Amenities

Nothing - just a marker and room to park. There should be bathrooms at Tucker Hill and gas stations are maybe 10 minutes away.

6) Time Requirements

It's about 20 minutes to reach the pines. You could spend the entire day here doing all the loops. About 10 minutes to the power line easement jeep trail.

Experience

See main overview page for context/maps.

Tucker Hill North, South, and the Secret Entrance to the Florida Trail are similar. They start out going through dense oak forest then at some point enter a relatively open area of tall old pines with low misc plants underneath.

To get here you pass the bike parking area and before long there are white concrete pillars on each side of the road - there's room for a least a couple cars on the south side. I've only gone north a little bit but I've gone south many times. It has some degree of altitude change. It goes down hill a bit, there's a huge dead tree you walk under, there is a little cypress forest and water tightly in with the rest of the oaks, then before long you pass the power line easement. If you go left a bit you'll see a pond. I've heard a duck in here but that's about it. if you look around here (the easement in general) you'll see deer tracks - here and where you cross it on the bike parking area trail and the tucker hill south. Continue on through and there is more dense oak until you open up into some pine. There's a sharpie marker set of signs saying which Florida Trail loops you are crossing. Also there are several bike paths crossing around here as well as some forest roads not far along as we go to the right. Ahead if you look close I want to say 200 yards (I'm terrible with distances - if someone was standing there it would be enough to hear them shout but that's about it) - up there you see a raised paved trail. You have to hunt a bit for it but go straight and you'll hit it. Not important to go there - just pointing out a landmark. If you turn right (it's the obvious way the trail goes) you further leave the oaks and you'll cross over a forest road. Around here is where we've had the best experiences with both Night Hawks and Red headed woodpeckers. There are some dead trees off to the right where the woodpeckers maybe live and we've seen groups of night hawks fairly low doing their fantastic booming diving display. Plus we've seen them attached to trees as if they were just knots on the pines. I don't know how reliable the experience is but at least half the time we've had something like this happen.

The trails continue on for miles - you can exit at Tucker Hill etc at some point.

The north side of this trail (above was going south) - it's pine with a bit of oak mixed in right away. It's a nice place for certain birds - just the right cover. Interesting plants but I'm fond of deep dark forest trails.

To compare this to the other trails:

The bike parking area trail is the same except the powerline easement is much closer and as far as I've explored it doesn't hit the pine area... but again maybe I haven't walked far enough.

Tucker south is almost the same except the altitude change is quite a bit more which gives it more visual interest, the powerline easement and pine areas are quite a bit further of a walk.

Tucker north is even more altitude change - it makes you feel winded - and there is more wildlife in the forest itself then it opens up on pine that with a bit more oak mixed in and a camping area.


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