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Ben T Davis Beach and Causeway

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info

ROUGH DRAFT
Andrew Thoreson
Jan 2019
 Typical view [?]
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Typical View (9)

Snapshots! (9)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
Revisit? B
Birding B
Wildlife F
Summer Heat D
Terrain B *
Fun Hike D *
Maintained B
Mosquitos A *
Biting Files A
Ticks A
NOTE: Generally it's a beach but glass and sharp rocks so wear flip flops or be careful
NOTE: Ocean views but it's right by busy road
NOTE: Usually winds take care of them
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: 7740 W Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa, FL, Hillsborough, USA, 33607
OFFICIAL INFO:

1) What It's Like

The beach part is around the restaurant/bar Whisky Joe's but the birds are more likely to be far down the very narrow shore along the south side of the road. Lots of shore birds though - especially at low tide. It's not pleasant on that narrow part due to the proximity to the highway. The causeway is good in winter for seeing Lesser Scaups and maybe a couple others species like Loons.

2) Kinds of Birds

Shore birds. Mostly terns, sand pipers, plovers, that kind of thing. Also gulls and herons. Can be quite a few in a little spot.

3) Wildlife

Only mammels likely are people walking their dogs.

4) Amenities

There are bathrooms in some places along the entire bridge but not that narrow part of the shore.

5) Directions

This is basically the US60 bridge that crosses Tampa bay. There are 3 bridges crossing the bay - this is the northernmost one nearest the airport. If you're just going to the actual Ben T. Davis beach - there's a parking lot. If you're going to the other stop off areas along the bridge it's more tricky. We often drive the whole thing looking for where the birds are and come up with a strategy. There are islands and a stop light on the bridge and parking lots to pull out on. But there are one way streets there since it's so narrow so you can easily get stuck and have to make a long loop on the bridge. Weekends have more people and the birds go farther away.

6) Dear Ranger

It's not really set up to do anything but let people use the shore along a highway - not really relevant here.

7) Time Requirements

Stop and look. You could spend time walking along strips or trying different spots.

Experience

Ben T Davis is the little beach near the Tampa airport end but you can use this for all the shore along the Courtney Campbell Causeway. There's a small beach around the restaurant Whiskey Joe's - which is nice. Most importantly for birds there's a long very very narrow strip of beach and rocks the extends quite a long walk following the bridge from the beach. It's the Tampa side of the bridge and the south side of the road. There are strips like this all along that bridge but that's the part I'd call Ben T Davis beach and probably the largest best area to look at.

Birds can be anywhere, especially at low tide but we've seen them most often way down that skinny shore all packed together, many species. Can't say it's pleasant walking out there because it's right next to the highway.

The causeway portion - the south side you can only really access by walking/biking - and it's a long ways. The north side however has a one lane one way road for most of it and you can pull over to watch scaups, loons, etc in winter. There's not a ton of birds otherwise. People keep to themselves but there are some oddballs here - some just hang out and ... well I don't know what but you can see them. Others put towels covering their windows completely and I assume live here or pitch tents. That oddity aside: you might miss the turn offs here. It's mostly land crossing the bay here but there is a central span. Going from Tampa to Clearwater there is a pull off to go on the first single lane road before the span - there are usually fewer birds on this side of the span. Then on the other side keep an eye out for the next turn off. The first one you have to go under the bridge and come out on the Clearwater to Tampa side but the second one has an exit further up. If you want to see more of the same go to Phillipe park up the coast a bit and you might see a Brown Booby as well.

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All images and data © 2016-2020 Andrew Thoreson unless otherwise noted.