Field Trips for 2018-2019
The Public is Invited!
PLEASE NOTE JANUARY AND FEBRUARY FIELD TRIP LOCATION CHANGES!!
Cruickshank Sanctuary is an amazing coastal scrubland preserve with one of the best Florida Scrub-Jay populations around and distinctive scrub vegetation. Viera Wetlands is a water management facility, and the birds and other wildlife love it. We have encountered Soras, American Bitterns, Limpkins, a wide variety of other wading birds and waterfowl close up, and upland birds like Caracaras, Harriers, and Kestrels too! Much of our birding should be from our cars, as you can drive on the berms unless the weather has been very wet. After the wetlands we will head to the nearby Brevard Zoo, with great exhibits of Florida animals and habitats and a walk-through exotic bird aviary that you will never forget!
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.
Sunday, November 18, 2018 -- Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive
This is a large preserve on the site of former muck farms that polluted Lake Apopka for years. It is being restored and has become excellent marshy habitat for a wide variety of species. We will tour the wildlife drive. This area has had some of the highest bird species counts in the state, and we will be there when some of our winter duck species will have arrived. It is known for common sightings of birds like Black-necked Stilts and Fulvous Whistling-Ducks.
"Lake X" is really 1350-acre Lake Conlin east of St. Cloud, where a boat company used to test its speedboats. The area was bought by the late Mr. Kirchman, a software company owner, who turned it into a 2500-acre private nature preserve with superbly managed pine flatwoods habitat. They conduct environmental education and youth camps with a conservation focus. Audubon is promoting it for purchase by the State of Florida as a conservation easement so it will stay natural despite development pressures. We have arranged special access to the east side of the lake, which is said to be even better than the west side that KVAS toured two years ago!
Sunday, December 16, 2018 -- Kissimmee Valley 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 119th year!
Sunday, January 6, 2019 -- Orlando Wetlands Park [CHANGE OF LOCATION]
This park in Christmas, FL is a mix of woods and man-made wetlands. 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 great place to see wintering ducks, Purple Gallinules, both Night-Herons, and all our other wetland species! The trees and underbrush are also good habitat for butterflies, songbirds, and raptors.
On this always-popular 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, March 10, 2019 -- Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area and Joe Overstreet Landing [CHANGE OF LOCATION]
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.
Saturday, April 27, 2019 -- Fort De Soto County Park
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 months ahead.