South Florida is home to a number of species found nowhere else in the North America, including Mangrove Cuckoo, Black-whiskered Vireo, Short-tailed Hawk, Shiny Cowbird, Smooth-billed Ani, Snail Kite and Florida Scrub-Jay. During our six days of land birding we’ll search for all the specialties as well as the Miami “exotics” – Spot-breasted Oriole, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Hill and Common Myna, Yellow-chevroned and White-winged Parakeet. We visit dry and wet prairies, wetlands, the pine flatwoods and scrub-oak habitat of south-central Florida, and search the mangroves and West Indian Hardwood hammocks, that make up this wonderful sub tropical paradise. In doing so, we hope to come across a Caribbean stray such as Western Spindalis, Cuban Pewee, LaSagra’s Flycatcher, Zenaida Dove or Key West Quail-Dove.
We will also take a 3-day trip to Dry Tortugas National Park and historic Fort Jefferson, located 70 miles west of Key West, Florida at the height of spring migration. These 7 tropical islands are home to a seabird colony of thousands of Sooty Tern and Brown Noddies, and lesser numbers of Magnificent Frigatebirds, Masked Boobies and Brown Pelicans. Sometimes seen in the vicinity of these islands are Brown Booby and Roseate Tern as well as the rare Black Noddy and Red-footed Booby. Highlights of the trip include possible large numbers of passerines and other migrants that use these islands as a stopover point on their journey to the mainland, as well as the possibility of a visitor from the Caribbean, such as Yellow-faced Grassquit that was seen 2002, Red-legged Honeycreeper (2003) and Bahama Mockingbird (2007). Close-up views of warblers, tanagers, vireos, nightjars, shorebirds and other passerines make for an exciting three days of birding. Snorkeling and sightseeing of historic Fort Jefferson add to the many activities that make up a Dry Tortugas experience.
Focus: Birds, Butterflies, Reptiles, Culture, Scenery, Photography
“You have the best coverage for getting all the Florida specialties, and you allow extra time to ‘get the birds’.” – Barbara Carlson, CA