The McKay Bay Nature Park can be found in Tampa off Adamo Drive and 34th Street, just south of Ybor City. The 38 acre park which touts itself as an “urban wildlife refuge” is surrounded by freeways, overpasses, railway tracks and a waste to energy facility. Not what we here at Telephoto Florida would consider a prime birding location. Nevertheless the site is a GFBWT location.
The Great Florida Wildlife and Birding Trail says of the park:
There’s more here to this park than first meets the eye… a short nature trail which leads to a 915-foot boardwalk, where you will journey through the mangroves to the bountiful mudflats of McKay Bay… paved 1.25-mile multi-use trail which winds southward through the park; this trail circles the southern tip of the peninsula.
On our July trip to McKay Bay Nature Park, we did not make it beyond the Resource Recovery Plant due to the odors emanating from the factory. Had we continued along the paved path southward, we would have found ourselves at the shore of the bay and amongst some shore birds. Alas, we contented ourselves in watching the gulls hovering above the waste facility.
To compound our disappointment, the .17 mile boardwalk was closed for repairs. Work was scheduled for completion in 2014, but seven months into 2015 and the boardwalk is still closed. To top off our visit, it rained.
Telephoto Florida does not recommend this park for birding, at least not in the heat of the summer. Perhaps a winter visit is better suited for this location when the odors emitted by the Resource Recovery Plant are not as strong and when the wintering water birds are in town. If in the area, head to Ybor City instead for a Cuban sandwich, a hand rolled cigar and a cup of espresso.
The McKay Bay Nature Park is part of the larger 62-acre McKay Bay Preserve.