“Take an easy trip around this preserve to see numerous bird species, including 6 species of native woodpeckers!
— Alexandra Sulecki
Birding · Wildlife
Nancy Payton Preserve is open every day from dawn to dusk.
Much of the trail system traverses sandy areas, so the trail can be challenging to run.
This trail portion traverses an open pine flatwood, where turkeys and gopher tortoises can sometimes be seen. During spring and fall, wildflowers claim the sunny spots. Evidence of past fires can be seen, where managers have applied prescribed fire to clear the underbrush and maintain the native habitat for wildlife. Benches and picnic tables built by a local Eagle Scout give a chance to rest along the way.
Heading north along the trail, visitors will enter a large open area of scrubby flatwoods bristling with palmetto and scrub vegetation. Remnant blackened tree trunks are evidence of a past catastrophic wildfire that today provide resting perches for the many bird species found here. Bring binoculars to enjoy the views. This trail is sunny, so make sure to wear a hat!
Flora & Fauna
The dominant tree species here is South Florida slash pine. Natural pine flatwoods have an open canopy of widely spaced pine trees with little or no understory but a dense ground cover of herbs and shrubs. Native animal species that may be seen here include bobcats, cotton mice, eastern cottontail rabbit, Florida panthers, gray fox, and white tailed deer.