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Florida hotel for birdwatching?

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Old Sunday 18th February 2018, 11:49   #1
Digbert Doobrey
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Florida hotel for birdwatching?

Heres a question for anyone on the board from Florida or people who have holidayed there. I am considering a trip there next month however I do not want to drive while Im there so therefore can anyone recommend a hotel where I can get myself some great birding from within a mile or two of the hotel. It can be anywhere in the state but the only criteria is that its within 20 miles or so of a major airport.

I can make a few excursions while Im there to nearby reserves if need be but I just want a break from driving while on holiday. Is this practical in Florida or do you really need your own transport?

Im not bothered about racking up a big trip list or seeing the Florida endemics. Id just like a relaxing break with some good birding close by.
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Old Sunday 18th February 2018, 15:37   #2
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The Dry Tortugas would be one option for a likely amazing birding site with no local driving involved. I suspect there would be a very good chance of finding a good range of migrants, plus possibility of an ABA rarity. Facilities are very basic though:

https://www.nps.gov/drto/planyourvisit/camping.htm

If that is not an option, it may be worth looking at other state parks in Florida that have on site accommodation.
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Old Monday 19th February 2018, 05:24   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain_of_Crunch View Post
The Dry Tortugas would be one option for a likely amazing birding site with no local driving involved. I suspect there would be a very good chance of finding a good range of migrants, plus possibility of an ABA rarity. Facilities are very basic though:

https://www.nps.gov/drto/planyourvisit/camping.htm

If that is not an option, it may be worth looking at other state parks in Florida that have on site accommodation.
Thanks for that.

I was thinking of somewhere more on the mainland though as it would seem that the Dry Tortugas are a bit of a mission to get to.
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Old Monday 19th February 2018, 07:22   #4
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When I went on a family holiday a few years back we stayed in a hotel that backed onto Lake Cecile in Kissimmee. The birding around the lake was superb with Limpkin, Least Bittern, Green Heron to name but a few. Plus birds moving through (this was late March/early April), Warblers, Painted Bunting etc. I'm sure anywhere with a bit of water would be the same so a quick scan on Google Maps may be worthwhile.
Hope this helps.
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Old Monday 19th February 2018, 07:26   #5
Jos Stratford
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Not an answer to your request, but have you considered another part of the US as opposed to Florida - think most of the best areas in Florida really need a car, there are other excellent birding areas in the US that are perhaps less car dependent, eg Cape May (fantastic birding within walking distance, especially as migration season begins).

In Florida, agree with the Kissimmee suggestion for a possibility without a car or alternatively maybe rent a car and head for a single location that will need a minimal amount of driving, eg base yourself near the Everglades or Merritt Island?
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Old Monday 19th February 2018, 20:11   #6
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I am not sure if March is still winter enough, but Crystal River area might be worth looking into? a place to stay, birdwatch, swim with manatees, etc in winter time. Disclaimer: I have never been there, just remembered someone talking now that you asked.

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Old Wednesday 21st February 2018, 12:49   #7
Digbert Doobrey
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Thanks for your responses.

Rosen Shingle Creek hotel looks interesting. Close to Orlando airport and has its own nature trail on sight which is about a mile long. Tempting...
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Old Wednesday 21st February 2018, 13:48   #8
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I would agree that Florida (I did this last year on Tampa side) does benefit from the car due to lack of public transport, but you may find that Uber/Lyft makes your reach slightly greater (heading down to Lake Tohopekaliga). As everyone seems to mention, have a look at ebird, which will allow you to see the hotspots around the area and then use google maps to check how far it is by road. A rough calculation for Uber would be 1.5 x miles (not exactly)

For a future possibility, San Francisco and the bay area lends itself well for different birding destinations by public transport. The local Audubon Society (GGAS) also has lots of monthly bird trips (including midweek ones), so you can meet with others in the morning, and then carry on or move on if you wish. 3 weeks travel for about 220 USD (70 Bart/Bus, 130 Uber and 20 Airport Shuttle). Some people I met did give me lifts back though (or to nearest BART).

Good Luck!
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Old Thursday 22nd February 2018, 11:57   #9
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Originally Posted by Kibet View Post
I would agree that Florida (I did this last year on Tampa side) does benefit from the car due to lack of public transport, but you may find that Uber/Lyft makes your reach slightly greater (heading down to Lake Tohopekaliga). As everyone seems to mention, have a look at ebird, which will allow you to see the hotspots around the area and then use google maps to check how far it is by road. A rough calculation for Uber would be 1.5 x miles (not exactly)

For a future possibility, San Francisco and the bay area lends itself well for different birding destinations by public transport. The local Audubon Society (GGAS) also has lots of monthly bird trips (including midweek ones), so you can meet with others in the morning, and then carry on or move on if you wish. 3 weeks travel for about 220 USD (70 Bart/Bus, 130 Uber and 20 Airport Shuttle). Some people I met did give me lifts back though (or to nearest BART).

Good Luck!
Thanks for that. Am considering San Francisco too.

Problem for me with Uber or doober or scooby doober, or any of these non tax paying Apps that use slave labour and kill the market for established tax paying individuals, is that I am a London black cab driver. Obviously you were not to know that but the fact is I will saw my own legs off before I get in an uber.

Anyhow if their drivers over there are as professional as the ones in London Im more likely to end up in Times Square as in the Everglades with or without a sat nav.

I do go south of the river by the way. Be lucky!
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Old Thursday 22nd February 2018, 13:35   #10
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Key West

I have a Florida holiday planned in early April and we are specifically staying on the Keys at Key West, so that I can bird Fort Zachary Taylor each morning, as its a real hotspot for passerines moving North and especially Warblers:

https://ebird.org/hotspot/L127449

Its a 10 minute walk/short cycle ride from many hotels/guest houses. I also intend to take a trip to Dry Tortugas, whilst staying on Key West and by boat or sea plane:

https://ebird.org/hotspot/L127452

Apparently its a bucket list spot for N.A Birders. Note you can get an internal flight to Key West from several other main Florida Airports.

For my second week away, I'm staying on Anna Maria Island further up the west coast and this has a great spot, which is again good for migrating passerines, by way of Leffis Key:

https://ebird.org/hotspot/L1541051

I've stayed here before and seen some great birds, such as Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Ovenbird, plus many other Warblers. Friendly local birders too! Also a free bus, which travels up and down the island all day long.

In general, one does need a car to get the best out of Florida.

Last edited by NAB : Thursday 22nd February 2018 at 16:20.
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