Winter Florida Getaway
Join Stefan and Brodie on a tour of Florida’s best. On this eight-day excursion, we’ll traverse the southern part of the continental United States in search of endemic birds and plants, wildlife, and butterflies.
We’ll start with a visit to Marco Island, where Snail Kites forage for Apple Snails, and a local population of Burrowing Owls famously digs their burrows. A walk on nearby beaches may turn up all four small plover species that winter in the area.
Venturing north, we’ll visit wetlands where we should find Limpkin and Purple Gallinule and, with lots of luck, Smooth-billed Ani. Weedy areas may yield some Painted and Indigo Buntings. We hope to glimpse the endemic Florida Scrub-Jay at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
Continuing north to Central Florida, we’ll visit the Lake Kissimmee area, looking for the small wintering population of giant Whooping Crane, hoping for an encounter with Crested Caracara as we search. Afterward, we’ll visit The Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area, which conserves a large portion of the second-largest remaining dry prairie in the United States. This area sometimes holds the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, and wintering Pine Warbler.
Returning south, we’ll visit one of the most storied natural areas on the continent: Everglades National Park. Tucked in among the coastal mangroves, the Everglades consists of mangroves, sawgrass marshes, American Alligator, and American Crocodile lurk in the waters along with turtles, manatees, and a wide variety of native wildlife. As we traverse the park, we’ll watch for stunning Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks, and Short-tailed Hawks.
Our last full day will bring us to the scenic Florida Keys, a wintering locale for many North American songbirds and the only place in the country to reliably find the White-crowned Pigeon. We’ll search for local, rare specialties like Mangrove Cuckoo and Key Tree Cactus and hope to celebrate a successful trip with a slice of Key Lime Pie.