Field Trips for 2017-2018
The Public is Invited!
We will search at Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area near Kenansville for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Bachman's Sparrows, and other species. We will move on to Joe Overstreet Road. Whooping Cranes, Sandhill Cranes, and Crested Caracaras are possible, and at Lake Kissimmee (the “Landing”), we may see Bald Eagles, Snail Kites, and lots of wading birds. We will also be on the lookout for American Kestrels, Burrowing Owls, and Sherman's Fox Squirrels.
We will join Orange Audubon Society, Friends of Split Oak Forest, and Tarflower and Pine Lily Chapters of the Florida Native Plant Society for a nature hike at Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area. This beautiful 1700-acre Orange County Green PLACE and mitigation park in the Lake Nona area has a variety of habitats, wildflowers, and wildlife. Hike will be approximately 2.6 miles round-trip. Located off Narcoosee Road, on Clapp Simms Duda Rd, 3.6 miles south of SR 417. Watch for signs for Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge and turn east on Clapp Simms Duda Rd. Meet in the Split Oak Forest parking lot at 7:45 am. There are no facilities. Closed-toed shoes, a hat, and water are essential. If any questions, call in advance to (407) 647-5834.
Saturday, October 7, 2017 -- Mead Garden, led by John Thompton [SORRY; CANCELLED -- MEAD GARDEN IS CLOSED AFTER HURRICANE IRMA]
Mead Botanical Garden is a fall migration hot-spot with as many as 23 warbler species reported there in a fall season. Located in the heart of Winter Park, this 55-acre park offers migrating birds food, water, shelter, and rest as they travel to their winter homes. Residents like Barred Owls, Northern Flickers, and various hawk species should add to the fun.
This new Osceola County park is former ranchland that was sold for development and then bought by the county's land conservation program. A combination of restoration work and its location on the shores of Lake Toho has created an instantly popular prime location for bird and wildlife sightings! We will be combining our field trip with a picnic and helping some Boy Scouts in a joint project with Osceola County to put up bird nest boxes.
Saturday, November 18, 2017 -- Lake Marion Creek WMA (Polk County), led by Tom Palmer
This will be KVAS's first time at this site! This 8,000 acres of land west of Poinciana was purchased by the South Florida Water Management District and Polk County to protect water and wildlife habitat. The preserve's scrub, sandhills, pine flatwoods, and floodplain forests provide habitat for a variety of Florida's native plant and animal species. We will be hiking in sand and a variety of terrain.
On this trip to the Space Coast, we will look for wintering ducks, shorebirds, wading birds, and numerous other water bird species and their tree-dwelling cousins in the salt marsh habitats. Afterwards, we will have a late lunch at famous seafood restaurant Dixie Crossroads in Titusville!
Sunday, December 17, 2017 -- Christmas Bird Count
Not exactly a field trip, but more! We have numerous teams that spread out close to home to count birds from sunrise to sunset as part of an annual Audubon Society citizen science and conservation project throughout the western hemisphere. This is the 118th year!
Sunday, January 14, 2018 -- Orlando Wetlands Park [CHANGE OF LOCATION]
This park in Christmas, FL is a mix of woods and a man-made wetland. Treated wastewater (it's quite clean) from an Orlando water treatment facility is piped there. It spends about 70 days going through a series of marshes and lakes to reduce the nutrient levels, and is then released into the St. John's River system. The birds love the place, and this is a good place to see Purple Gallinules!
This Polk County preserve proves that much Central Florida ranchland, when historic water levels are restored, can become as valuable to native plant and animal life as it ever was. This former ranch supports a wide diversity of birds and other animals in many different habitats (woods, lake, meadow, marsh, you name it!).
Join KVAS on a tour of this preserve on a former ranch that has become a widely known example of habitat restoration. We will try to see Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Florida Scrub-Jays, and other woodland and prairie species.
This Pinellas County park is the first land many birds see after migrating across the whole Gulf of Mexico! We hope to hit this magnificent beach park at the peak of spring migration. It combines beach, bay, and wetland habitats with upland hammocks and mulberry trees where shorebirds and migrants feed and rest. You can also visit the old fort! Our main time there as a group will be Saturday. Staying overnight for an early start Saturday is recommended, and staying Saturday night for Sunday birding is also an option. There are many hotels around, and camping at the park if you reserve many months ahead.
We will explore these parks on the east coast of Florida for late-migrating birds, especially warblers.