Field Trips for 2023-2024
The Public is Invited!
Sunday, September 24, 2023 -- 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 may have arrived. It is known for common sightings of birds like Black-necked Stilts, American Bitterns, and Fulvous Whistling-Ducks.
Mead 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. Other migrants and residents like Barred Owls, Northern Flickers, and various hawk species should add to the fun. As a bonus, this date corresponds with Backyard Biodiversity Day at the garden, with numerous exhibits and native plants for sale.
Saturday, November 18, 2023 -- Pancakes and Scrub-Jays!
Join your Audubon friends in making your own hearty pancake breakfast on the table-top griddles at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant at DeLeon Springs State Park near DeLand. Then we will travel the short distance to Lyonia Preserve in Deltona for a hike with endangered Florida Scrub-Jays and other scrub animals, plus some great scrub habitat plants.
Sunday, December 10, 2023 -- 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, American Bitterns, and Fulvous Whistling-Ducks.
Sunday, December 17, 2023 -- 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 124th year!
On this always-popular trip to the Space Coast, we will look for wintering ducks, shorebirds, wading birds, and numerous other species in the salt marsh habitats. Wigeons, Avocets, Godwits, Roseate Spoonbills, and Reddish Egrets are a few of the many species often seen here. Afterwards, we will have a late lunch at famous seafood restaurant Dixie Crossroads in Titusville!
Sunday, February 4, 2024 -- Orlando Wetlands Park
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.
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, where Whooping Cranes, Sandhill Cranes, Red-headed Woodpeckers, 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, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, and Sherman's Fox Squirrels.
Saturday, April 14, 2024 -- Fort De Soto County Park
This Pinellas County park is the first land many birds see after migrating north 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 time birding as a group will be Saturday. Many people do this as a day trip, but staying overnight for an early start Saturday is recommended, and staying Saturday night for Sunday birding or St. Pete sightseeing is also an option. There are many hotels in the St. Petersburg/St.Pete Beach area.