The Myakka State Park Birdwalk is one of my favorite places in the park and it provides one of the most peaceful, awe-inspiring views of nature at its most basic level; a level that you can experience, feel and sense.
The Birdwalk boardwalk stretches out over a portion of the far northeast side of Upper Myakka Lake.
From there your senses will appreciate the delicate quietness and exquisite beauty of nature happening right before your eyes, ears and nose.
You'll also experience the sheer stillness, the calm, the quiet, the egrets and herons flying past or wading in the tall grasses of the lake.
The calm quiet may be broken by an alligator splashing nearby after perhaps devouring a tasty treat.
After all, this is raw nature "happening" right before you.
Birds of prey you may find in the skies over the Myakka State Park Birdwalk; the Northern Harrier, the Red Tail Hawk, The American Bald Eagle, Vultures and Turkey Vultures (which help keep the park clean!).
And there’s nothing like watching one of America’s great robber-barons, the Bald Eagle, steal a freshly caught fish from the talons of an Osprey flying high over head in the wild. It's quite a battle!
Other birds you will find in the park include: Falcons, Cranes, Ibises, Storks, Pelicans, Owls, Gulls, Terns, Pheasant, Turkey, Quail, The Great Blue Heron and Flamingos, just to name a few.
The ground environment around the Birdwalk changes with the seasons and is dependent upon the rain conditions. Often times the Birdwalk spreads out over swamp conditions, over water as murky as dark tea. This swampy condition occurs when rainy season comes.
The last time I was on the bird walk it was during drought conditions and the murky, tannin colored water had dried up, leaving only tall grasses to look out over.
In either environmental condition, being out on the bird walk will wake up your senses like never before.
Sometimes there are Park Rangers and Guides out on the Birdwalk. One ranger I met, Owen, was so well versed on the birds in the park he could speak on any species or variety of birds as he kept watch of the skies while on duty.
He had brought bird watching telescopes and binoculars, high power camera lenses for picture taking and an I-pod loaded with thousands of bird calls. The guides definitely know their birds!
Whatever time of year you visit, I'm sure, if you "tune in" to nature, that you will find this one of the most unique experiences you've had.
Directions: Follow the main road from the Park Entrance, Park Road, until you come to North Drive. Follow North Drive and look for the sign and parking area for the Birdwalk.