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An Afternoon At Lettuce Lake Park in Tampa

We recently spent an afternoon at Lettuce Lake Park, a popular local Hillsborough county park in Tampa. It costs just two dollars per car (up to eight people) to visit this 240-acre  park for the day (hours 8am-6pm during the fall/winter season).

The park boasts numerous amenities:

  • Barbecue Grills
  • Bird Watching
  • Boardwalk
  • Boat Dock
  • Boat Ramp
  • Canoe Rentals
  • Hiking Trail
  • Picnic Shelters
  • Playground
  • Restrooms
  • Visitors Center

On this particular Sunday, we were there to walk the hiking trail and the  boardwalk to see the animals:

lettuce lake park tampa

They have no fear of people and just wander around. This one was rooting for insects, as armadillos are mainly insectivores

Hogs like to toot in areas by palmettos. We didn’t see any that day, just these signs of them.
The Great Egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society, one of the oldest environmental organizations in North America. Audubon was founded to protect birds from being killed for their feathers.
lettuce lake park tampa
Usually slow and methodical in its foraging, walking very slowly in shallows or standing still waiting for prey to approach.
Foliage near the treeline
A hoarder’s feeding area
A single petal resting on some foliage
lettuce lake park tampa
These birds are uniform black except for white patches or “stars” on the underside of their wingtips (this can be hard to see in strong light or from far away).
You can almost see the bare skin of the head on the one that is preening. The skin is black.
Bream is a generic term for a number of fish, including bluegill, redear sunfish, redbreast sunfish, spotted sunfish, and warmouth
Almost any water body in the Florida, regardless of size or location, contains the popular bluegill and, to a lesser extent, redear sunfish.
lettuce lake park tampa
Lettuce Lake is more of an inlet that opens into the Hillsborough river.
lettuce lake park tampa
It’s a popular place for kayaking and paddle boarding.

A medium-sized, slender heron of the southeastern United States, the Tricolored Heron was formerly known as the Louisiana Heron.
Large sturdily-built heron with the plumage mainly grey and white. Bill strong and deep, grey and yellow (completely orange-yellow in the breeding season)
This one is a juvenile: forehead and crown dark grey. Nape dark. Sides of the head and the neck grey.
Has a strong, croaking call, “kah-ahrk”
You can usually see many alligators on a trip along the boardwalk
lettuce lake park tampa
this was the only one we saw that day
lettuce lake park tampa
Occasionally you can find leaves that change color in Florida. 😉
lettuce lake park tampa
They look like weapons; the pod is to prevent animals from eating them, so they are in a way.
The only species that has made it into the United States is the nine-banded species, which inhabits Texas and the Gulf Coast states and can be found as far north as Missouri.
lettuce lake park tampa
In native southern regions, armadillos are nocturnal year-round, keeping cool underground during the day and foraging at night. However because of the armadillos’ relatively low body temperature, the nine-banded species in North America tends to change its habits in the cooler months and emerge during the day to take advantage of the warm sun.
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