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White pelicans at McKay Bay
By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2000
One of the white pelican's favorite pit stops is the shallow mud flats of McKay Bay. Just a five-minute drive from downtown Tampa, on 34th Street south of Adamo Drive, this city park is a perfect place to spend a lunch hour watching these barnstorming birds provide a free air show.
You probably have driven by this spot off the Crosstown Expressway and never noticed the hundreds of huge white birds resting in the warm Florida sun. The park is set in the most unlikely place, the heart of a heavily industrialized area, hardly the ideal setting for a wildlife sanctuary.
But much of this 908-acre section of Tampa Bay has escaped the developer's bulldozer and backhoe. There are plenty of mangroves, salt marshes and mud flats that attract more than 180 species of birds, from roseate spoonbills to great blue herons. On some winter days, as many as 25,000 birds crowd the shallow bay, apparently undisturbed by the cars and trucks rumbling down the highway.
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