Edward Medard Park
Maybe not so much a Florida Birding spot, Edward Medard Park is, however, a favorite go to spot for picnickers in the Plant City area. This county park was once the site of a phosphate mine. In the early 1970’s the site was built up with the reservoir and park facilities.
Formerly known as Pleasant Grove Reservoir, this 770-acre site is located in Hillsborough County, east of Brandon, one mile south of State Route 60 on Turkey Creek Road. The park offers canoeing (rentals available), boating (no wake), catch and release fishing (stocked with bass and channel catfish) and first come first served overnight camping. There is $2 daily entry fee per vehicle with up to 8 people in in it.
The birding was not fantastic but Florida locals were prominent. Telephoto Florida watched osprey soar above and dive for fish in the reservoir. Grackles, anhingas, a palm warbler or two were easily spotted along the boardwalk. There is a three mile trail that is accessible (dry) most of the year through pine flatwoods and hardwood hammocks. The observation tower was closed for repairs during this visit.
Of note is that pets are allowed and the park has a disc golf course, plenty of restrooms.
Edward Medard Park is a lovely family recreation spot. Picnic tables and shelters fill up quickly on the weekends with families out for the day. It is not surprising that Edward Medard Park is one of the most popular parks in the region.
Because it is built on a reclaimed phosphate mine, there are parts of the park built on sandy hills. Erosion around large live oaks has exposed their root system, leaving a unique look at the tree. Although interesting to not only see the root system, but to climb around it as well, sadly, as further erosion occurs the trees will topple and die.