AT A GLANCE
Winter is dragging on and you’re ready for some sun, some greenery, and some birds! Explore South Florida, our little bit of the sub-tropics, where you’ll see birds—rare and beautiful, lots of them—and will visit unique and exotic habitats. And of course there’s the beautiful weather!
The Everglades is now severely threatened, and its demise could and may occur. Everglades National Park is unique among our hemisphere’s national parks in being named an International Biosphere Reserve, World Heritage Site, and wetland of international importance. But how much longer will this “River of Grass” remain? Solutions are underway, but the fate of the Everglades still hangs in the balance.
Located closer to Cuba than to Miami, Key West is Florida’s irreverent southernmost subtropical paradise, a unique confluence of history, climate, natural beauty, cultural diversity, architecture, and unabashed romantic appeal. Palm-lined streets with gingerbread mansions and tin-roofed conch houses were home to Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost, and Jimmy Buffett, a few of the famous people who discovered solace and inspiration in the island city whose Bahamian and Cuban heritage in large part was inspired by Bahamian wreckers, commercial fishermen, spongers, and Cuban cigar makers.
The Florida Keys, famous for the beauty of its water is one of the top destinations in the world for bird watching. There are a number of good birding spots in the Florida Keys. The Tortugas, Sandy Key, and the Everglades are perhaps the best known, but there are many others located throughout the Keys and Florida Bay.
Travelers will meet the tour leader at Miami International Airport and then spend the day in search for all the exotics that are American Birding Association countable.
Overnight in Jupiter, Florida. Welcome dinner.
Possible birds : Egyptian Goose, Gray-headed Swamphen, White-winged Parakeet, Nanday Parakeet, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Common Myna, Common Hill Myna, Spot-breasted Oriole, and Scaly-breasted Munia.
Early morning starts at Jonathan Dickinson State Park in search of Florida Scrub Jay, the state’s only endemic bird species. The park contains the sixth largest population of jays as well as nesting Osprey and Bald Eagle. In the afternoon, move on to Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and Wakodahatchee Wetlands, both great places for photography. Optional night drive through Everglades National Park.
Overnight in Homestead.
Possible birds : Bachman’s Sparrow, Snail Kite, Purple Gallinule, White Ibis, Tri-colored Heron, Little Blue Heron, Smooth-billed Ani, Eurasian Collared Dove, Burrowing Owl.
On to the Tamiami Trail to explore the northern limits of Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. Travelers will take an airboat ride at the Miccosukee Indian Reservation and a tram at Shark Valley, ten miles out into the northern Everglades. Lots of alligators! This is our best chance at seeing Snail Kites close-up.
Overnight at Homestead.
A full day is spent via the south entrance of Everglades National Park, enjoying cypress hammocks, bird-filled ponds, and the park’s marvelous grasslands. Visit the well-known Anhinga and Gumbo Limbo trails.
Overnight in Homestead.
Possible birds : Short-tailed Hawk, Woodstork, Roseate Spoonbill, Sandhill Crane, Reddish Egret, Painted Bunting, Swallow-tailed Kite.
We’ll bird watch along the Keys, Key Largo to Key West. Close looks at shorebirds at Ohio Key will delight you as much as the beautiful Victorian bed-and-breakfast that will be our home for the next three nights in Key West. We might see some of Florida’s Key Deer.
Overnight in Key West.
Possible birds : Swallow-tailed Kite, Burrowing Owl, Great “White” Heron, and Short-tailed Hawk.
Breakfast will be served once we board the boat at 7:30am for the Tortugas (weather permitting). After a spectacular ride through the Outer Keys, you’ll find fantastic snorkeling (rental equipment available on the boat), historic Fort Jefferson (the most remote of all our national parks), and an abundance of birds.
Overnight in Key West.
Possible birds : Northern Gannet, Sooty Tern, Bridled Tern, Brown Booby, Masked Booby, Brown Noddy, Black Noddy, and Magnificent Frigatebird.
Early morning birding at the Key West Botanical Garden and Key West Cemetery will produce some new birds and a feel for the great tropical diversity of South Florida. Later, you’ll be free to enjoy other activities in Key West, such as back-country kayaking, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, touring the John James Audubon House or Ernest Hemingway’s house, shopping, golf, or just relaxing (additional charges may apply).
Overnight in Key West. Farewell dinner.
Possible birds: White-crowned Pigeon, parrots, early migrants.
Early morning birding and last minute shopping, if time permits, before heading north to meet departing flights from Miami (no earlier than 7 PM please) and birding along the Keys. Travelers may elect to fly home from Key West.
Do you have a quick question about this birding tour? Speak to a specialist at