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Information for birding Florida (1 Viewer)

Andy Wraithmell

aka Limeybirder
Due to the frequent request for information on where to bird in Florida I have taken the liberty of starting a thread devoted to that and providing some basic information for visiting birders.

The Great Florida Birding Trail is a great resource for planning your birding to the state. It's also completely free! Here is a link to the trail website.

http://floridabirdingtrail.com/

There are literally hundreds of great birding sites in Florida and it's almost impossible to list them all. Here is a list of my favorite sites and ones I would recommend to visiting birders.

Panhandle

Fort Pickens
St George Island State Park
Bald Point State Park
Apalachicola National Forest
St Marks National Wildlife Refuge

North Florida

Fort Clinch State Park
Paynes Prairie State Preserve
Ocala National Forest

Central Florida

Honeymoon Island State Park
Fort De Soto County Park
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Canaveral National Seashore
Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area
Joe Overstreet Landing Rd and Lake Kissimmee
Lake Kissimmee State Park
Zellwood and Lake Apopka
Kissimmee Prairie State Preserve
Wekiwa Springs State Park

South Florida

Sanibel Island & J N Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
STA-5 (need to join organized field trip www.sfwmd.gov)
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Everglades National Park
Bill Baggs State Park
Sebastian Inlet State Park
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
Wakodahatchee Wetlands
A.D. Barnes Park
Lucky Hammock (Frog Pond Wildlife Management Area)

Keys

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park
Dry Tortugas National Park
Bahia Honda State Park
Curry Hammock State Park
Key West Tropical Forest & Gardens

I could have listed many, many more excellent sites but I didn't!

Other resources every birder visiting Florida should have include;

The DeLorme Florida Atlas and Gazetteer
Bill Pranty's Birding Guide to Florida

both the above publications are invaluable and not too expensive.

Other things you should bring with you

Bug repellent
plenty of high factor sunscreen. Florida isn't called the Sunshine State for nothing! Most Europeans are lobster red after 2 days!!!!
you'll need to carry lots of water. prepare to sweat, especially between April and October.
Wear loose fitting clothing and a wide brimmed hat to protect from the sun. Sunglasses are advisable to prevent eye strain.
Photographers should bring lots of memory cards and I mean lots!

Best times to visit

Mid to late April for the biggest species total. Migration is in full swing and all the tropical breeders should be back in South Florida.
Fall migration starts in August but late September early October is best. Beware though that this is peak hurricane season.
Summer (June, July and August) should be avoided, not worth suffering and fewer species.
Winter is great birding throughout the state, weather is fantastic!

Further Information

There are several websites where birders can glean more information. Jack Siler's Birding website is excellent and contains the Florida listservs. This is where Florida birders post their latest sightings.

BirdBrains (FL): http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/BRAN.html
Florida Birds: http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/FLAB.html
Florida Rare Bird Alert: http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/FLRB.html\
North Florida Birds: http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/NFLB.html

For Florida State Parks: www.floridastateparks.org

National Wildlife Refuges

St Marks: http://www.fws.gov/saintmarks/
Merritt Island: http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/
Loxahatchee: http://www.fws.gov/loxahatchee/
J N Ding Darling: http://www.fws.gov/dingdarling/

National Parks

Everglades: http://www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm
Dry Tortugas: http://www.nps.gov/drto/index.htm

Other internet resources

Florida Ornithological Society: http://www.fosbirds.org/
Audubon of Florida: http://fl.audubon.org/

Birding Guides

David Simpson: http://homepage.mac.com/simpsondavid/
Larry Manfredi: http://southfloridabirding.com/
Andy Wraithmell: website to be constructed soon!

Of course there are many birders on Bird Forum who have plenty of experience of birding in Florida so if you have a question I am sure you will get a good answer.

Hope this helps the many birders visiting Florida.
 

Jim M.

Choose Civility
A few additions:

Other resources every birder visiting Florida should have include;

The DeLorme Florida Atlas and Gazetteer
Bill Pranty's Birding Guide to Florida

both the above publications are invaluable and not too expensive.

Another excellent Florida bird finding book that could be added to the list is Brian Rapoza's Birding Florida http://www.amazon.com/Birding-Florida-Prime-Sites-Locations/dp/0762739142 Have not read Pranty's book myself, but those who have say it is just as good.

An excellent website for Southeast Florida birding info and recent sightings is: http://www.tropicalaudubon.org/tasboard/index.html

Best,
Jim
 

Zackiedawg

Well-known member
Very nice idea for all the birders looking for Florida info.

One little addition to your South Florida list that really should be included:

Green Cay Wetlands.

It and Wakodahatchee are virtual equals, and being only 1 mile apart, are a great pair to visit at once.

Though you weren't attempting to list them all - and there are obviously dozens of other parks, sites, and locations in each area worth a visit, Green Cay is one that I think is an order or two above the average - it's another of those 'special' sites in Florida where you are basically guaranteed to see 30 different species every visit.
 

merryslug

Well-known member
Slightly off topic: if you come across any of the Fla Birding trail guides/brochures, snap them up. I've heard a rumor that they are losing the funding to print them (wouldn't surprise me).
 

Andy Wraithmell

aka Limeybirder
Slightly off topic: if you come across any of the Fla Birding trail guides/brochures, snap them up. I've heard a rumor that they are losing the funding to print them (wouldn't surprise me).

The whole program is being cut!!!!!!!!!! I guess the $3 billion wildlife viewing generates for the Florida economy isn't enough for our governor! Oh well at least we'll have plenty of golf courses to keep ourselves amused when all the wild lands have been sold off.:C
 

Andy Wraithmell

aka Limeybirder
Very nice idea for all the birders looking for Florida info.

One little addition to your South Florida list that really should be included:

Green Cay Wetlands.

It and Wakodahatchee are virtual equals, and being only 1 mile apart, are a great pair to visit at once.

Though you weren't attempting to list them all - and there are obviously dozens of other parks, sites, and locations in each area worth a visit, Green Cay is one that I think is an order or two above the average - it's another of those 'special' sites in Florida where you are basically guaranteed to see 30 different species every visit.

An excellent site and one of many I did not include on my main list. Thanks for mentioning it though and please keep mentioning these great sites so that our out of state and foreign visitors can maximize their birding vacation to Florida.
 

merryslug

Well-known member
The whole program is being cut!!!!!!!!!! I guess the $3 billion wildlife viewing generates for the Florida economy isn't enough for our governor! Oh well at least we'll have plenty of golf courses to keep ourselves amused when all the wild lands have been sold off.:C

Ug, don't get me started. He's getting ready to de-fund Everglades clean up. Not reduce funding - DEfund.
 

Andy Wraithmell

aka Limeybirder
Just wanted to let everybody know that plans to cut the Great Florida Birding Trail were quashed.

Also wanted to share with y'all another internet resource. Here is a link to the many county Audubon Chapters we have in Florida. Each chapter is very different but most offer field trips throughout the year. Participating in chapter field trips is a great way to meet new friends and most importantly to see some great birds.

http://www.audubonofflorida.org/who_chapters.html

There are also a bunch of cool birding festivals held in Florida. Such festivals are great for birders of all levels.

http://www.evergladesbirdingfestival.com/

http://www.spacecoastbirdingandwildlifefestival.org/

http://www.pelicanislandfriends.org/index.htm

http://www.bigobirdingfestival.com/

http://www.keysbirdingfest.org/

http://www.dingdarlingsociety.org/dingdarlingdays.php
 

JPAC

Well-known member
Thanks for this. Does anyone have a POI file (Points of Interest) for a Sat Nav for these places?
 

virgo10

Well-known member
Can I add my favorite spot... The Circle B Bar Ranch Reserve. Located in Lakeland, FL. Open all year but some trails may be closed from time to time due to alligator nesting.

The best viewing I've come across has been in February but there's always something to see no matter which time of the year you go there.
 

Andy Wraithmell

aka Limeybirder

Sydsmythe

Well-known member
Don't worry guys. When they turn all the parks into golf courses we'll no longer have to make all these birding trips. Just think of all the free time we'll have!
 

Golfer1

Well-known member
Hi, Thanks for the list of resources, I will need to go and do some reading! We were hoping to visit Lake Kissimmee state park this week and I've heard there are burrowing owls there. We have never seen those, so don't know if anyone knows which area to look in as it is quite a big park :)
Thanks for your assistance, which is much appreciated.
 

Andy Wraithmell

aka Limeybirder
Hi, Thanks for the list of resources, I will need to go and do some reading! We were hoping to visit Lake Kissimmee state park this week and I've heard there are burrowing owls there. We have never seen those, so don't know if anyone knows which area to look in as it is quite a big park :)
Thanks for your assistance, which is much appreciated.

I've never heard of them being there before Golfer1. You could contact the park and find out.

here is the park website.

http://www.floridastateparks.org/lakekissimmee/default.cfm

Burrowing Owls have been seen on the other side of Lake Kissimee in Osceola County at Joe Overstreet Landing
http://floridabirdingtrail.com/index.php/trip/trail/Joe_Overstreet_Landing/

but you are almost certainly referring to Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, which is further south from there in Okeechobee County. They do have BUOW and a lot of other central FL specialties such as Crested Caracara and Florida Grasshopper Sparrow.

http://www.floridapanthernet.org/GFBT/index.php/trip/trail/Kissimmee_Prairie_Preserve_State_Park/

Hope this helps
 

pstraughan

Well-known member
Can I suggest that this is made a "Sticky"? It is starting to slide down the list and I'm finding it very useful in planning my February trip to South Florida.

Pat
 
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