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Lake Parker Park

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info

Andrew Thoreson
May 2020
 Typical view [?]
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Typical View (15)

Snapshots! (25)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
How Big Not Rated
Importance Not Rated
Revisit? A
Birding A
Wildlife B
Summer Heat C *
Terrain A
Fun Hike B *
Maintained B
Mosquitos B
Biting Files A
Ticks B
NOTE: Not much shade but you can leave early
NOTE: Mostly about the birds - short and park not a wilderness
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: FL, Polk, USA, 33801

1) What It's Like

A short walk with a lot of birds along canal and lake, some very unique birds. Reliably see Purple Gallinules and I think there's an injured Coot because we see one in summers here. Also seems to be some wildlife for some reason - racoon and (signs for) coyotes.

2) Kinds of Birds

Purple Gallinules, Coots, Common Gallinules, wading birds, ducks to some degree, catbirds, warblers, red winged blackbirds, grackles - I think that generally covers it. Mostly the water birds are the draw. Maybe ducks but not so much compared to Gallinules specifically. Saw our first snail kite here.

3) Wildlife

Raccoons beg for food at picnic tables. Signs for Coyotes.

4) Amenities

Picnic tables, nice path, bridge, bathrooms, shuffleboard court (though not sure if it is public), BBQ shelters - a lot of stuff.

5) Time Requirements

It's not a place you have to walk a long way but you'll likely linger for a bit. I'd say we probably stay 30-40 minutes usually.


We singled this place out in our quest for purple gallinules and it keeps delivering. You park and there are some tall I think cypress trees. You cross a bridge over a fairly long canal lined by cypress that goes into Lake Parker. Lake Parkers is pretty big but the water plants here are gallinules/bird friendly at this spot. When you cross the bridge it's a grass field like you'll see at many parks. Turn left and follow the canal/path and it will turn right around more trees. Look up here at first bridge towards lake - this is where we spotted our first snail kite. Also Coot seems to be in the canal most often (based on a hand full of visits seeing him) - he's here in summer so I think maybe he can't fly.

As you walk you can see water birds all over here - it's not far - and they are more used to people than you might expect. We've seen Ibis fight for bread from picnic-ers here. Round that corner and you'll cross a little bridge - sometimes grackles are comical sitting on this as you walk by. Walk a little furthur as the path ends look on left in these water plants/bulrushes - I think 4 of 5 times we'll see purple gallinules here. They often stand out from other gallinules in that they tend to climb plants and generally be more gregarious and noise making. It's easy to miss them if you're not looking for the purple. The juveniles you have to look at their forhead a little closer. From here up to the BBQ shelter is where you look really. Often Ibis hang out at the shelter happy to be near you.

Pretty great little park.

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