Wildside Limited Series

FLORIDA: Spring Bird Photography



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From: $4,575 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Jacksonville, Florida (JAX)


3 - 4 Participants


2023: 4 Spots Available


This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.

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Highlights of FLORIDA: Spring Bird Photography

  • Hands-on photo instruction with Tamron Ambassador Alyce Bender
  • Early and late stay in one of North Florida’s premier wading bird rookeries
  • Photograph wading birds in their finest plumage at close range from eye level boardwalks
  • Explore hidden gem birding locations in North Central Florida with Bender who grew up in the area and knows the local’s spots.
  • A chance to photograph endangered snail kites and the unusual limpkin during breeding season

Description of FLORIDA: Spring Bird Photography

Florida has long been known as a world-renowned birding destination. On this photography tour we explore not only one of the more well-known locations but also some of the lesser-known spots that are just as rich in diversity and photographic opportunities. While visiting the original stopping grounds of your leader, Alyce Bender, you are sure to catch a glimpse of the natural world that influenced her work as well. Nesting species to be encountered in the St. Augustine rookery include endangered wood storks, snowy egrets, roseate spoonbills, great egrets, great blue herons, and many others. Inland along the prairie wetlands you can expect to add limpkins, snail kites, and purple gallinule to your portfolio. 

Length of Tour


Brief Itinerary

Day 1 – April 15th Arrive in Jacksonville, FL, head to lodging

Day 2-4 – April 16-18th We concentrate our time in one of the best wading bird rookeries in North Florida – the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. 

Day 5-6 – April 19-20th During these days we explore several birding hot spots in North Central Florida. 

Day 7 – April 21st We have one last sunrise birding shoot before heading back to Jacksonville for late afternoon/evening flights home.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 – April 15th Arrive in Jacksonville, FL, head to lodging

We will meet in Jacksonville and have a meet and greet dinner before heading to the hotel in the St. Augustine area. At dinner we will discuss what to expect, photography strategies (especially for birds in flight), logistics, and ethical bird photography. 

Day 2-3 – April 16-17th We concentrate our time in one of the best wading bird rookeries in North Florida – the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. 

Starting first thing in the morning, we arrive at the park and are allowed in with special early entry permission. Making our way into the rookery, we are eye level and arms reach from a wide variety of wading birds and their nests! From the endangered wood stork to roseate spoonbills, tricolor herons, great egrets, great blue herons, snowy egrets, and the list goes on as we observe the activity throughout the rookery from a well-maintained boardwalk.  Breaking for lunch, we return to photograph the rookery in the evening light. 

Day 4 – April 18th Starting with a morning visit to the rookery once again, we make our last images here before loading up and heading inland from the Florida coast to prairie wetlands of north central Florida. 

Day 5-6 – April 19-20th Here in north central Florida we will experience a different set of birds with focus on species such as limpkins and snail kites. Rotating between photography locations we will make the most of our time in this unique ecosystem. We will have the opportunity to see many other Florida species beyond birds to potentially include raccoons, wild alligators, various snakes, or even a bobcat!

Day 7 – April 21st We have one last sunrise session photographing at the wetlands before driving back to Jacksonville to return home. 

We will pack out early, catch one last sunrise at wetlands before heading back to the airport for late afternoon/evening flights home.


Cost is $4,575 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Jacksonville, Florida (Airport code JAX.
This trip ends in same as arrival city (Airport code JAX).

Cost Includes

Cost includes meals (from dinner of first day to breakfast on last day), airport transfers, all ground transportation, accommodations, entrance fees/permits, and services of your professional leader.

Cost does not Include

All flights to/from destination city, trip insurance, or anything that is not specifically mentioned in the itinerary.

Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of participants registered the trip can still run with a small-group supplement fee per person determined by the number of participants.


Single Supplement

If a single hotel room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $630 will be assessed.

NOTE: For boat-based tours, see pricing options for single cabins. Single cabin cost includes the single hotel cost above.


Minimum Number

If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.


Deposit Requirements

A $1,000 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.

How to Book

In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.

Final Payment

For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.

For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.

NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.

This trip includes standard hotels.

Activity Level Rating: (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)

Easy – gentle walking over relatively flat surfaces of gravel, grass, sand, and boardwalks. Longer hours of standing may be required. Walking of up to 3-4 miles per day in warm and humid conditions.

Since this tour focuses on the birds, telephoto lenses are going to be key to achieving the best images that require little cropping. Feel free to bring wider lenses but understand the majority of photo opportunities will be in the 400-600mm. Here are my suggestions:

• Your longest telephoto for birds and other wildlife – I use the Tamron 150-600mm G2 and highly recommend it if you are looking for a lens in this range. Anything 500mm or longer is going to create the best results. 

• A shorter telephoto such as a 70-300mm or 24-70mm for wider environmental shots – I typically carry the Tamron 18-400mm for covering this range.

• Tripod for extra support of long lenses during longer field sessions. 

• Gear and trip insurance – because you never know what might happen. Working out in the elements, I always highly suggest having gear insurance as, should the worst come to pass, you want to know that at least you can replace what’s been damaged when you return home.

Purchasing Flights

Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.

Detailed Trip Information

Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.

Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.

Travel Insurance

As with all tours, we recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to help cover your investment, for covered reasons. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.

Passport & Visa

US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.

Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.

Itinerary Changes

The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.

Location Map