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South Florida

Double-crested Cormorant | Photo Credit: Sue Milks

National bird

Northern Mockingbird

Where

South Florida – Miami, Florida Keys, Fort Myers

When

10th – 19th March 2024

Number of participants

Maximum of 8, plus one Roadrunner guide.

Cost

$4,700 USD.

Description

Our guided tour departs from Miami and ends in Fort Myers and will visit some of South Florida’s best birding locations, including Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, the Florida Keys, Corkscrew Sanctuary, Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area and Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

South Florida is filled with exotic bird species, plus an abundance of native species and the great chance of a rarity or two! We will mostly focus our birding efforts on the daytime hours, but we will also visit Everglades National Park in the evening for a different experience.

What species can be spotted?

To name a few: Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Egyptian Goose, Blue-winged Teal, Mottled Duck, Northern Bobwhite, Pied-billed Grebe, White-crowned Pigeon, Common Ground Dove, White-winged Dove, Smooth-billed Ani, Mangrove Cuckoo, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Chuck-will’s-widow, Chimney Swift, King Rail, Gray-headed Swamphen, Limpkin, Sandhill Crane, Wood Stork, a variety of plovers, sandpipers and other shorebirds, Anhinga, Least Bittern, Roseate Spoonbill, Swallow-tailed Kite, Snail Kite, Short-tailed Hawk, Burrowing Owl, numerous parakeets and parrots ranging from Monk Parakeet to Orange-winged Parrot, several flycatchers and vireos, Fish Crow, Brown-headed Nuthatch and Spot-breasted Oriole.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Day – Miami

Meet and greet at hotel for dinner. Night in Miami. 

Day 2: Urban Birding

The first birding day will be spent in urban Miami. Numerous exotic species, such as Gray-headed Swamphen, Egyptian Goose and Spot-breasted Oriole, call Miami home and we’ll spend the day searching for the obscure. Night in Miami.

Day 3: Everglades National Park

A full day will be spent exploring the expansive Everglades National Park. We will travel from the park entry to Flamingo, where the main park road ends, which is where we could spot the American Crocodile lurking near the marina. Numerous stops will be made along the way starting at Anhinga Trail where we will search for Anhinga and Purple Gallinule. Other species for the day could include Mottled Duck, Roseate Spoonbill, Wood Stork, White-tailed Kite, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Short-tailed Hawk, plus shorebirds at the mudflats. Night in Homestead.

Day 4: Florida Keys

We shift today from Homestead to Key West with birding along the way. Our first main stop will be in Key Largo in search of the White-crowned Pigeon. Shiny Cowbird and Mangrove Cuckoo are also options in this area, albeit harder options. Night in Key West.

Day 5: Dry Tortugas National Park

We will proceed via catamaran to Dry Tortugas National Park for a day trip. We will seek out the nesting species that utilize this area and could see Masked Booby, Sooty Tern, Magnificent Frigatebird and Brown Noddy. Night in Key West. 

Day 6: Lower Keys

We will bird the Lower Keys and search specifically for rarities as we make our way back to Homestead for the evening. Of interest, the Key Deer, can be found in the Lower Keys. Night in Homestead. 

Day 7: Miccosukee to Corkscrew

The fabulous Snail Kite can generally be found foraging near the irrigation canals of Miccosukee and will be a target of our morning as we proceed to the western coast of Florida. Corkscrew Swamp will be our focus for the afternoon. We can walk the boardwalks, scour the bird feeders and search for an abundance of species ranging from Limpkin to Painted Buntings. Night in Fort Myers.

Day 8: Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area

A day to search the pinewoods and target Brown-headed Nuthatch, Red-cockaded Woodpecker and others like Bachman’s Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Brown Thrasher and Eastern Bluebird. Night in Fort Myers. 

Day 9: Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Our final full day and we will head to the popular Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge to search for numerous shorebirds and waders ranging from Yellow-crowned Night-Heron to Wood Stork. Other target species for the day will be the delightful Burrowing Owl, Black Skimmer and Reddish Egret. Night in Fort Myers. 

Day 10: Departure Day – Fort Myers

The tour concludes this morning after breakfast. Departure can be anytime today from mid-day.

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