Address: 4112 University Blvd N, Jacksonville, FL 32277
Parking: Parking is free. There are several paved parking lots, a few right by the main entrance, and another on the river side of the park at the foot of the fishing pier. Both the main entrance area and the fishing pier have designated handicap parking.
Trails: There are a couple trails; two main ones are the paved walking loop that goes from the front entrance all the way to the fishing pier and the fishing pier boardwalk into the woods and parking area of Arlington Lions Club Boat Ramp. However, the best “trails” are the old golf course fairways…you can walk all over 9 holes of greens and fairways.
Target Species: Red-headed Woodpecker, Sparrows, American Goldfinch, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron.
About: Blue Cypress Park is an old city owned park that had a subsidized nine hole public golf course on it. The golf course has been shut down for years, and the area around the “clubhouse” (an old double wide trailer) is in extreme disrepair. You can, however, walk all over the property and see a great variety of birds. There are port o lets and physical restrooms available on the property.
Birding Strategy: If you know me, you know I enjoy and advocate for walking the parks and really immersing in the surroundings. Yes, there are multiple lots where you can park, get out and bird, drive to the next lot, bird, etc…but if you have time and are able to walk a couple miles, it’s well worth it to do so. You can “get a little lost” in wandering the fairways, but you never have to worry since you will always pick the paths back up.
I recommend parking at the entrance of the park near the soccer fields and walking the entire property, including the river boardwalk and the heavily wooded trail that abuts the Arlington Lions Club Boat Ramp.
Blue Cypress is on the St. Johns River, is very low-lying, and the paved trails that do exist are often flooded. The paved walking paths were poured with no plan, and it’s actually an architectural marvel how much they don’t drain water!
Seriously though, Blue Cypress is criminally under-birded and is one of the most diverse, freely accessible parks in the county to go birdwatching. There is such a mixture of habitats, it’s rarely crowded, and has access to forest and water…making for a potentially wonderful outing.