By Tamas Mondovics

Considered by many as one of the county’s best bird habitats, Edward Medard Park will be the site of the season’s first bird walk hosted by none other than Rich Crete, owner of Rich’s Backyard Birds in Lithia.

Crete is geared up once again to lead a group of fellow birders and all who are interested in joining them, on the ever-popular Sunday morning walks in nearby county and neighborhood parks as well as local trails.

“Birders of all abilities are invited and welcome to join us,” Crete said, adding that newcomers need not worry about their lack of experience or knowledge of bird species. “If you are new, we’ll help you,” he said.  “The experienced birders will help the beginners find and ID the birds. We are a very friendly group. Our goal is to see lots of birds and have fun doing it.”

The first bird walk this season, which according to Crete will likely produce the display of 40-45 different species, will be on Sunday, October 20.

The group that usually number, between 12-24 birders, will meet at 7:30 a.m. at Crete’s store, located at 5670 FishHawk Crossing Boulevard, in the FishHawk Publix shopping center and carpool to Medard Park.

Those who wish may go straight to the park and meet up with the group around 8 a.m. in the lot just past the boat ramp and in front of the boardwalk. The trip starts early in the morning and will be done by 11:00 a.m.

Crete emphasized that the seasonal walks are from fall through spring, as many birds migrate to the area for the winter. “There are a lot more birds here this time of year, which is why we do the walks when we do,” Crete said.

There are a few things to keep in mind including the $2 per vehicle Medard Park entree fee. As always, children are welcome as long as they understand the purpose of the walk.

“We are bird watching and that is usually a quiet, slow moving activity,” he said. “If the kids run and play along the route ahead of the group, they will scare the birds away we are there to see. So I encourage young birders, but please make sure they understand what we are doing.” Two important things a birder must have: binoculars and comfy shoes.

Those that would like to sign up for a walk may also send an e-mail to, or stop by the store. For more information about the upcoming bird watching season, please call Crete at 657-2473.


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