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Schedule Details

New! Afternoon Water Talks

Living Shoreline Stabilization in Florida

An Afternoon of Water Talks: Sponsored by the Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition

Dr. Melinda Donnelly, Dr. Linda Walters and Dr. Paul Sacks

Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Jan. 26, 1:00pm-1:30pm; AUD

Shoreline development and hard-armoring decrease available habitat to wildlife and are considered a significant threat to coastal biodiversity. Living shorelines are an alternative to hardened shorelines and mimic natural conditions by using living organisms for erosion control instead of seawalls or concrete boulders. In 2011, we partnered with Canaveral National Seashore (New Smyrna Beach, FL) to develop living shoreline methods to protect historical structures in their Park (shell middens, houses) threatened by shoreline erosion and sea level rise. Methods were based on experimental tests to identify best practices using a combination of species found on natural shorelines, including oysters, smooth cordgrass, and mangroves (red mangrove, black mangrove, white mangrove. Since the initial project in 2011, we have stabilized over 3 km of shorelines in state and national parks on the east and west coasts of Florida using living shoreline methods. On-going monitoring has documented both a decrease in rates of erosion and increased wetland, oyster, and seagrass habitats along these stabilized shorelines. A diverse animal community has been observed using these shorelines, including invertebrates, fishes, birds, and mammals. These projects would not have been possible without support provided by over 9,900 community volunteers, as well as the formation of successful partnerships with non-profits, local governments, and management agencies.

Oyster Reef Restoration in the Indian River Lagoon with Implications for Imperiled Wading and Aquatic Birds

An Afternoon of Water Talks: Sponsored by the Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition

Dr. Linda Walters and Dr. Paul Sacks

Department of Biology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Jan. 26, 1:30pm-2:00pm; AUD

Oysters are a keystone species on a global scale based on their capacity to filter water, denitrification, and provide habitat as well as food for numerous species. In Mosquito Lagoon (northern Indian River Lagoon system), one of the primary threats to reefs of the intertidal oyster Crassostrea virginica is wakes from recreational boats. Wakes dislodge live clusters and tumble them into piles that extend above mean high water. Because the area is microtidal (~10 cm tide range), the clusters do not roll back down and the oysters subsequently perish, with only bleached piles of disarticulated shells remaining. Fortunately, community-based oyster reef restoration (2007 – present) has successfully countered this problem by providing suitable substrate for over 10 million oysters with the assistance of over 50,000 volunteers. To understand the impact of oyster restoration on avian success, especially for threatened/endangered (e.g. wood storks, oystercatchers) and charismatic (e.g. pink roseate spoonbills) species that drive local eco-tourism, we need lots of help with data collection! We will discuss our goals for citizen scientist participation in this project, as well as a new initiative with Nemours Children’s Hospital PedsAcademy in Orlando, FL to have hospitalized children engage in extensive processing of bird images on natural, restored and dead oyster reefs.

Impacts of Toxic Algae on Wildlife and Humans

An Afternoon of Water Talks: Sponsored by the Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition

Dr Edie Widder

Ocean Research and Conservation Association

Jan. 26, 2:15pm-3:15pm; AUD

In local waters we are dealing with two kinds of harmful algal blooms: red tide and toxic blue green algae. Come and learn how their toxins may be impacting our health and that of the animals we love and what we need to do to clean up this mess. Dr Edie Widder is the CEO of the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) an organization that has a results-driven approach to conservation.  Some of the information she will be presenting is related to studies that ORCA has been carrying out to measure the toxin load in fish collected from Blue Cypress Lake, the Indian River Lagoon, Lake Okeechobee, the St Lucie Estuary and off shore.

Dr. Edie Widder is a MacArthur Fellow, a deep-sea explorer, and an ocean conservationist. A specialist in bioluminescence, she has been a leader in developing new ways to explore the deep sea. Her innovations have produced footage of rare sharks, squid, jellyfish, and crustaceans, as well as led to the first recordings of the giant squid, Architeuthis, in its natural habitat. In order to help save and protect the ocean she loves, in 2005 Edie helped found the Ocean Research and Conservation Association, also known as ORCA. ORCA is the world’s first technology focused, marine conservation, not-for-profit, which is using leading-edge science to find pollution and stop it at its source. ORCA’s tagline, which is Mapping Pollution, Finding Solutions, describes a results-driven approach to meeting some of the greatest challenges our ocean planet is currently facing.

Our Water, Our Future: a program with Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch and John Moran

An Afternoon of Water Talks: Sponsored by the Brevard Indian River Lagoon Coalition

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch will speak on the structure of government and the possible partnership of Republican, Governor, Ron DeSantis and Democrat, Commissioner of Agriculture, Nikki Fried. Both, members of the Florida Cabinet, could cooperate to convene urban and agricultural Florida in way that has never been done before. With habitat for birds and other wildlife disappearing under the pressure of population growth; and aquifer withdraw and nutrient pollution feeding toxic estuaries and algae filled springs, we need a New Florida Vision now. Just a hand full of times, under crisis conditions, VISION has occurred in Florida’s past. The question is how can we insure that a New Florida Vision occurs today?


John Moran believes that as our waters go, so goes Florida. Although vital to Florida’s ecological and economic health, our waters increasingly are besieged by pollution, neglect and the groundwater demands of a thirsty state. Moran was for many years a nature photographer happy to work the bliss and beauty beat, peddling his pictures of pristine Florida to audiences around the state. But then he realized his pretty pictures of flawless Florida were feeding a false narrative. His evolving speaking programs now focus on the changes he’s seen, including photos from Florida’s 2018 Toxic Summer of Slime. Moran makes the case that there can be no long-term well-being in Florida unless we embrace a new way of thinking about water—mindful that tomorrow’s Florida is being shaped by the choices we make today.


Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch was the sole environmentalist to serve on Florida’s 2017-2018 Constitution Revision Commission and together with Comr. Lisa Carlton brought Amendment 9 Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoors Workplaces to the ballot. Amendment 9 passed by 68.92%. Jacqui is the former mayor of the Town of Sewall’s Point and known for championing the first strong fertilizer ordinance on Florida’s east coast. Since 2013, in their signature yellow Cub, Jacqui and her husband Ed have documented by air the toxic algae outbreaks in the St Lucie River starting in Lake Okeechobee.

John Moran was a staff photographer and writer for the Gainesville Sun for more than 20 years before leaving the world of daily journalism in 2003 to concentrate on his love affair with natural Florida. Moran is a published author and his photos have appeared in National Geographic, Time, Smithsonian and on the cover of the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida. Florida scholar Gary Mormino says, “If Florida had a Photographer Laureate, John Moran should hold that title.” His speaking programs, focusing on a photographer’s search for the soul of Florida, have been called “exquisite,” “lyrical” and “eye-opening.”

Field Trips on the Water

Barrier Island Center and Pelican Island Sunset Fly-In
  • Jan. 24, 9:30am-7:30pm; Limit 25 Registrants; $125
  • Anne Birch (The Nature Conservancy) & Ross Hinkle (University of Central Florida)
  • Meet at the EFSC bus circle to board the bus. Bring money for late lunch at Blackfin’s Riverfront Grill at Capt. Hiram’s Resort in Sebastian, FL. Price includes a snack bag.

This trip begins with a personal tour of the Barrier Island Center (BIC), a video and a walk from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian River Lagoon estuary through maritime hammock and salt marsh. You will love the Giant Land Crabs! The BIC is located inside the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (ACNWR) on South Melbourne Beach. The focal point for the Carr Refuge, BIC offers nature enthusiasts and visitors a place to explore the barrier island’s diverse habitats through interactive exhibits, a presentation hall, a small research library, ongoing educational programs and a hiking/nature trail. The stretch of beach within the ACNWR is home to the most important sea turtle nesting habitat in the United States. More loggerhead sea turtles nest within the Carr Refuge than anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere – over 20,000 loggerhead nests were recorded in 2016. Additionally, there has been a significant increase in both green and leatherback sea turtle nesting here.

Following a short bus ride to Sebastian, you will arrive at Capt. Hiram’s Resort for a late lunch and a boat tour to Pelican Island on the River King, a 45-foot USCG approved pontoon boat. On the way to the island, the boat will pass over sea grass beds and past mangrove islands of the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) so you can see its amazing wildlife. Named as an Estuary of National Significance in 1990, the IRL is one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in the United States. Pelican Island became the first National Wildlife Refuge in the United States when it was designated as a bird sanctuary by President Roosevelt in March 1903. The refuge is famous for its Brown Pelican rookery, but 15 additional species also nest on the 4.2-acre Pelican Island, including Wood Stork, Anhinga, American Oystercatcher, and many herons and egrets. The amazing spectacle of hundreds of birds flying to the island at sunset is a remarkable sight that you don’t want to miss. On the water look for American White Pelicans, Lesser Scaup, Mottled Ducks, Common Loons, Horned Grebes, Pied-billed Grebes, Red- breasted Mergansers and many gulls and terns. Bottle-nosed dolphins are probable and sea turtles are possible. Lunch will be served at Blackfin’s Riverfront Grill. Starters, soups, salads, and sandwiches range from $9-$14; entrees from $14-$27.

Beach Birds Intro & Field Trip
  • Jan. 26, 7:00am-8:30am Classroom Intro in Rm.119, then 9:30am-4:00pm Field Trip; Limit 36 Registrants; $90
  • Adam Kent (FOS), Gina Kent (Avian Research & Conservation Institute), Michael Brothers & Jim Danzenbaker

After the classroom presentation, drive to Smyrna Dunes Park for the field trip, 2995 N. Peninsula Ave., New Smyrna Beach, FL. Entry Fee is $10 per car. Meet at the large pavilion where the restrooms and picnic tables are located. Drive time from the college is approximately 45 minutes. There is a marine head on the pontoon boat, but it is highly recommended that you use the restrooms at Smyrna Dunes Park before leaving on the boat tour. Bring water and sunscreen. Box lunch is included. You see them all the time – running from the surf, perched on pilings and soaring over the water. If you think they are nondescript grayish variations on the same theme, you are only partially correct. Have fun learning identification and natural history of the common but often difficult-to-identify birds found on Florida’s beaches in the winter. Explore their variations and sort through some of the subtleties of their shapes and behaviors in the classroom portion. Weather permitting, the field trip portion will begin with a 3-4-hour trip on the Coast Guard certified 40-passenger pontoon boat, Discovery. We will travel up the Halifax River to a pelican rookery island near the Dunlawton Bridge. The large sandbar on the west side of the island often has good numbers of gulls, terns and shorebirds. We will make stops along the way back to look at birds that are gathered on sand bars. If conditions permit, the boat trip will end at Disappearing Island near high tide, when large concentrations of gulls, terns and shorebirds congregate there. Following the boat trip, a walk along the shore at the park will allow for close observation and identification practice. This spectacular beachside park offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, Ponce Inlet and the Halifax River estuary and the opportunity to get close looks at beach birds. There is always a possibility of finding rarities such as a Glaucous or Iceland Gull. Twenty species of shorebirds are possible here, including American Oystercatchers, Piping and Wilson’s Plovers, Purple Sandpipers and Red Knots.

Manatees of Blue Spring and St. Johns River Cruise
  • Jan. 24 & 25, 7:15am-2:15pm; Limit 34 Registrants; $110
  • Madison Hall (University of Central Florida) & Tiffany Barrineau, with …
  • Meet at the EFSC bus circle to board the bus. There is a marine head on the boat but it is highly recommended that you use the restrooms at Blue Spring Sate Park prior to leaving on the boat tour. Price includes lunch.

This special trip will be led by University of Central Florida Conservation Biology PhD Candidate, Madison Hall, Marine Biologist, Tiffany Barrineau, and a couple of outstanding birding tour leaders. Time will be spent at Blue Spring State Park (BSSP) in Orange City along the shore of Blue Spring to observe and learn about Florida’s most charismatic megafauna, the West Indian Manatee. Next a catered lunch will be served on a river cruise onboard the “Eagle,” a U.S. Coast Guard approved pontoon boat. The Eagle was specially designed to ply the shallow backwaters of this unique section of the historic St. Johns River. The captain is a licensed Coast Guard captain who knows the history of the area and the wildlife that abounds. It leaves from BSSP, passes through an old historic cypress logging canal into the Hontoon Dead River, where you will experience wild and pristine Florida as it has been over the centuries.

BSSP includes the largest spring on the St. Johns River. What makes BSSP so unique and special is that during colder months its crystal clear waters are one of Florida’s best places to observe manatees and other wildlife such as fish, turtles, birds and alligators in their natural habitat. During manatee season, which runs approximately from mid-November through March, several hundred manatees can be viewed atop the spring’s overlooks on cold days. Nicknamed the “sea cow” because of the way it grazes on sea grasses, the manatee is one of nature’s gentlest creatures. With a wrinkled snout bristling with whiskers, tiny eyes glowing like black buttons, and a comical pudgy body, the manatee is reminiscent of a child’s plush stuffed animal. No wonder the manatee was chosen as our state marine mammal in 1975. Come and see why.

Mosquito Lagoon Restoration Boat Tour
  • Jan. 27, 9:00am-12:00pm; Limit 35 Registrants; $45
  • Meet at the pavilion by the boat ramp at Riverbreeze Park, 274 H. H. Burch Road, Oak Hill, FL. Bring water and snacks and sunscreen. There is a marine head on the boat but it is highly recommended that you use the restrooms at Riverbreeze Park prior to leaving on the boat tour.

In 2007 Dr. Linda Walters, Dr. Melinda Donnelly and a team of undergraduate and graduate students from University of Central Florida embarked on a mission to begin restoration of one of Florida’s most diverse and productive estuaries. On this boat tour, you will see their first venture, which was to restore some of Mosquito Lagoon’s vast oyster reefs. For this ongoing project, hundreds of community volunteers created stabilized oyster mats and helped to deploy them. Next came work to halt the erosion of significant archaeological treasures within Canaveral National Seashore where boat wakes and rising water threaten the shorelines. Here they used living shoreline techniques, which utilize native plants and animals to restore the shoreline’s natural structure and function. School-aged children in Central Florida public schools grew the plants used in restoration and community volunteers helped with the installation. Passage of time has shown that these living shoreline and oyster reef restorations have effectively reduced erosion and promoted sediment build-up at a rate that exceeds local sea level rise.

You will be amazed and encouraged to see how this ravaged shoreline has transitioned to a natural habitat that teems with wildlife. The need for this type of research and restoration is crucial. As sea levels rise and storms become increasingly severe, coastal communities will be challenged in unprecedented ways. Nowhere is that more apparent than in Florida, with its 1200 miles of coastline.

Your guides today:
Dr. Linda Walters is a Pegasus Professor of Biology at UCF, whose research for the past 20 years has focused on the Indian River Lagoon. She has helped us understand the ecology of oyster reefs as well as the importance of their restoration for ecosystem functioning.
Dr. Melinda Donnelly is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Instructor at UCF. Her research focuses on mangroves and living shoreline stabilization along Florida’s east coast.
Jessy Wayles is the Coordinator for the Marine Discovery Center’s “Shuck and Share” program, where oyster shells are collected from local restaurants for use in lagoon restoration. She is a certified Florida Master Naturalist.
Laurilee Thompson is a fifth generation Floridian, Indian River Lagoon advocate and founder of the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.

Port Canaveral/Lagoon Boat Tour
  • Jan. 23, 24, 25, 26 & 27, 2:00pm-4:30pm; Limit 47 Registrants; $35
    Mark & Michelle Anderson
  • A drink, snack and lunch from Fishlips Waterfront Bar and Grill are included on Jan. 26.
  • A drink and snack are included on Jan. 23, 24, 25 & 27. Departs from Kelly Park, 2550 N. Banana River Drive, Merritt Island, FL. Please arrive 15 minutes early. Bring water and sunscreen. There is a marine head on the boat but it is recommended that you use the restrooms at Kelly Park prior to going on the boat tour.

Welcome aboard the Blue Dolphin, a 49-passenger Coast Guard approved pontoon boat operated by Mark and Michele Anderson. They have been running eco-tours in this part of Florida as Space Coast River Tours for more than 15 years. This two-hour trip will take you into the Banana River, through the Canaveral Locks and into Port Canaveral – the 2nd busiest cruise ship port in the world, where you may see cargo tankers, U.S. Navy ships, commercial fish houses, local marinas and plenty of birds! In addition, we’ll be sure to see dolphins and, weather depending, possibly manatees. Large flocks of American White Pelicans are normally seen at the entrance to the locks and during the cruise you will see Ospreys and other raptors, Wood Storks, Northern Gannets, pelicans, cormorants, gulls, terns and lots of egrets and herons. Past trips have produced such uncommon visitors as Common Eider, Magnificent Frigatebird and Sabine’s Gull; a pair of Common Eiders was seen last year. After touring the port we’ll head inland up the Barge Canal for more wildlife and nature viewing; we may even see an alligator. Tours are relaxing, educational and provide an excellent platform for photography. Dress warmly as it can be chilly out on the water in January.

Offshore Birding and Wildlife Adventure
  • Jan. 28; 7:30am-5:00pm; Limit 68 Registrants; $185 (Includes tips for the crew)
  • Leaders: Michael Brothers, Jim Danzenbaker, Tom Dunkerton, Jim Eager, Dave Goodwin, David Hartgrove, David Simpson & Raymond VanBuskirk
  • Meet: at the Canaveral Princess, 670 Glen Cheek Drive, Port Canaveral, FL; Phone: 321-784-6300. http://www.orlandoprincess. com. The Canaveral Princess docks between Rusty’s and Gator’s Dockside Restaurants in Port Canaveral. Arrive 20 minutes early. Bring: food and beverages, seasickness medicine, sunscreen and personal items. Food service will not be available on the boat. Dress warmly, bring full rain gear and wear waterproof shoes!

Join us on the Canaveral Princess, an 85-foot, single-hull boat with excellent observation areas on the upper deck, bow and stern. Weather permitting, our destination is an undersea formation known as “The Steeples,” a productive setting of cliffs and seamounts that create upwellings and current edges along the western edge of the Gulf Stream. We will first visit working shrimp boats for the birds that follow them. Our chumming behind the boat will result in a never-ending crowd of gulls, terns, pelicans and gannets to watch from amazingly close quarters. Once we’ve collected some birds to follow our boat, we’ll set out for the Gulf Stream. Our targets will be all of the wildlife we can find, including jellyfish and fish. Bottlenose and Spotted Dolphins are expected. Sea turtles and Humpback Whales are possible, as are North Atlantic Right Whales. Birds likely to be seen include Northern Gannet; Pomarine and Parasitic Jaeger and several species of gulls and terns. Birds we hope to see include Audubon’s, Cory’s, Great and Manx Shearwater; Wilson’s, Leach’s and Band-rumped Storm Petrel; Bridled and Sooty Tern; Masked and Brown Booby; Red and Red- necked Phalarope and Sabine’s Gull. You never know what you might encounter on the sea. The prospect of spotting something extraordinary is always there. If the weather is too rough to get offshore, the day will be spent instead closer to shore playing with the shrimp boats. Rehabilitated sea birds and/or sea turtles will be released if any are ready.

Field Trips on the Land

A Drive at Blue Heron Wetlands
  • Jan. 26, 7:20am-10:30am; Limit 16 Registrants; $35
  • Lora Losi & Matt Heyden
  • Meet at 7:20am at the south parking area of Cracker Barrel Restaurant near I-95 exit 215. There are no restrooms on the dikes.

A variety of waterfowl, wading birds and marsh birds congregate in the created wetlands at Blue Heron Water Treatment Facility. This is a 3-mile driving adventure on the gravel road that surrounds the wetlands. Be prepared to pull completely off the road and exit your vehicle at intervals in order to gain better viewing and to use your scope. American Bittern, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, Sandhill Crane, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Gadwall, Wood Duck, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Caspian and Gull-billed Tern and Marsh Wren are just a few of over 100 species sighted at Blue Heron. Birders may also see alligators. The highlight at this property in 2018 was the extraordinary sight and sounds of more than 1,000 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks.

A Walk at Blue Heron Wetlands
  • Jan. 27; 7:20am-10:30am; Limit 16 Registrants; $35
  • Lora Losi & Matt Heyden
  • Meet at 7:20am at the south parking area of Cracker Barrel Restaurant near I-95 exit 215. There are no restrooms on the dikes.

Explore the engineered wetlands of Blue Heron, an outstanding birding site and magnet for wildlife. This is a 3-mile walk on the gravel road that surrounds the wetlands. The pace will be leisurely in order to fully appreciate the birds you will see. See the description above for more details.

Beginning Birding Field Trip at MINWR
  • Jan. 23 & 25, 8:00am-11:30m; Limit 12 Registrants; $30
  • Jeff Gordon (ABA), Liz Gordon (ABA) & Betty Salter
  • Meet at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center to board a small bus. There are restrooms at the Visitor Center. There are restroom facilities midway through the Black Point Wildlife Drive.Jeff Gordon is the president of the American Birding Association. There’s very little about birds, birding, and birders that he doesn’t find fascinating. Liz Gordon is ABA Events Coordinator. Betty Salter is a long-time volunteer at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. John them for an intimate morning of instruction and observation along the highly acclaimed Black Point Wildlife Drive where there will be birds galore. They will help you learn helpful hints for beginners on where to find birds and how to identify them, interesting behaviors, and identification tricks of the birding trade. Birding is far more than a hobby. It is an open door to the world of nature, a touch point that connects people to the outdoors. Birding inevitably leads to a discovery of turtles, butterflies, wildflowers and all the interconnections of nature.
Beginning Bird Walk at Chain of Lakes
  • Jan. 23, 24 & 25, 1:30pm-3:30pm; Limit 10 Registrants; $20
  • Jan. 26, 10:00am-12:00pm; Limit 10 Registrants; $20 Selena Kiser
  • Meet outside in front of the EFSC Gym.

If you’re a beginning birder and you feel a little hesitant to join one of the larger field trips, look no further! Selena, an avid birder and wildlife biologist, will escort you on a two-hour adventure adjacent to the Festival grounds at Chain of Lakes Park. We’ll weave along the paved paths, pausing to look at wintering waterfowl, wading birds, and songbirds along the way. We’ll climb an observation tower to get a glorious view of the Indian River, including chance encounters of flying raptors at eye level. We’ll take our time viewing birds, so you can learn how to identify them. If you have binoculars, please bring them. Selena will have a spotting scope, but if you have one you wish to carry, feel free to bring it along, too.

Black Rails at the St. Johns NWR
  • Jan. 23 & 24; 4:00pm-7:00pm; Limit 14 Registrants; $60
  • David Simpson (Birding with David Simpson), Kimberly King- Wrenn (USFWS) with…
  • Meet at the EFSC bus circle to find your truck. There are no restrooms at the site. This is a walk THRU the marsh, not on a boardwalk, trail, or a levee. You may get wet walking through water, mud, and grass. Old shoes, or ‘knee’ boots are advised depending on the amount of rain on the site. It will get cold – you may be out after dark. Please dress warmly.

A caravan of USFWS trucks will carry attendees into the restricted access St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge. Preserved as the last home of the now-extinct Dusky Seaside Sparrow, these marshes west of Titusville are unique because here saline water seeps to the surface from a layer of salty water that lies above the Floridan Aquifer, creating marine-type habitats in the middle of a huge freshwater floodplain – perfect for secretive marsh birds. King Rails and Virginia Rails are possible too. As the sun sets on the marsh horizon and wading birds flock to their roosts, we will make stops and play tapes to try to entice rails to call.

Blowing Rocks Preserve and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
  • Jan. 25, 7:00am-6:00pm; Limit 13 Registrants; $125 Anne Birch (The Nature Conservancy)
  • Meet at EFSC bus circle to board the van.

This field trip will visit two important coastal centers: a picturesque preserve where estuary restoration is foremost and a leading marine research facility. Blowing Rocks Preserve is a unique barrier island sanctuary owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy. In 1969 far-sighted and generous residents of Jupiter Island donated 73 acres of their island to the Conservancy, establishing the preserve and ensuring its preservation. The preserve is named for its unique ocean beach, which features the largest outcropping of rocky Anastasia limestone on the U.S. Atlantic coast. During large wave events the sea blows through holes in the rock formation, blasting geysers of foamy water high into the air. Blowing Rocks Preserve underwent a large-scale, 20-year native habitat restoration that resulted in the clearing of more than 4,000 Australian pines and other non-native species to make room for native habitats including coastal strand, mangrove swamp, and tropical hardwood hammock. This field trip will include a preserve tour, easy beach walk, and a hands-on stewardship activity (weather-dependent) such as seine netting on the lagoon side of the preserve or plant propagation and planting. This part of the field trip will be outdoors and involve walking on natural trails and through sand. Participants should wear close-toed shoes and comfortable clothing.

Founded in 1971, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is a leading marine research facility located in Fort Pierce, FL. In 2007, the institute joined Florida Atlantic University and has grown into a community of approximately 200 researchers, staff and students working to promote “Ocean Science for a Better World”. The Ocean Discovery Visitors Center is a destination where the community can come to learn about the institute’s cutting-edge research. Your visit will include an hour-long tour of the center’s five educational exhibits (Marine Drug Discovery, Marine Mammal Research & Conservation, Aquaculture & Stock Enhancement, Marine Ecosystem Health and Ocean Engineering) as well as time to visit the “no-bones” touch tank, gift shop and student information center. The lunch stop will be at Guanabanas Waterfront Restaurant and Bar in Jupiter where you will enjoy their lush tropical open air setting and great cuisine and cocktails. All of their seafood is from Florida. Starters, salads, tacos and sandwiches range from $7- $14. Entrees run from $20-$35.

Celebrity Walk with Denver Holt and Kevin Karlson
  • Jan. 24, 7:45am-11:30am; Limit 18 Registrants; $70
  • Meet at the Parrish Park Boat Ramp parking lot. There are no restrooms on the dikes of MINWR with the exception of restroom facilities located halfway through the Black Point Wildlife Drive.

This is a special field trip where the interaction between the leaders and participants may very well overshadow the birds that we see. Both leaders are long time authors, close friends, and keynote presenters, and their collective unique perspectives on birds and nature from around the world promises to make this an event not to be missed. Leaders will also share their tips and stories about the birds that we see, and provide natural history information about birds and nature that will make our birdwatching experience extra special. Come out and enjoy this special event and the vast birding and ornithological background of these accomplished authors, speakers and guides. Humor and fun are requisites for attending this field trip, and the leaders will do their best to make these qualities a big part of this event.

Celebrity Walk with Scott Weidensaul and Alex Lamoreaux
  • Jan. 25, 8:00am-11:30am; Limit 18 Registrants; $70
  • Meet at the Parrish Park Boat Ramp parking lot. There are no restrooms on the dikes of MINWR that this trip will utilize.Join researcher, natural historian, and birding biographer Scott Weidensaul on this special field trip along the Indian River Lagoon Shoreline and West Gator Creek. We will visit Sand Point Park and stop along the Max Brewer causeway to overlook the Indian River in search of waterfowl, terns and gulls, shorebirds, and waders! The river is a natural corridor for foraging water birds, and the nearby freshwater ponds and patches of trees congregate wintering songbirds and offer close views of ibis, herons, and Wood Storks. Depending on time, we will also loop through the West Gator Creek portion of Merritt Island NWR to look for shorebirds and saltmarsh specialties. Scott Weidensaul’s knowledge, enthusiasm, and story-telling abilities will leave you with a new appreciation for just how incredible and essential birds are as components of our natural world. This leisurely trip offers birders an opportunity to stroll along the Indian River and chat with Scott about local birds, current research, or anything you’d like while also enjoying the birdlife of coastal Florida! A former intern under Scott’s guidance, Alex Lamoreaux of Wildside Nature Tours, will be co-leading this trip.
Central Florida Specialties
  • Jan. 24, 25, 26 & 27, 5:00am-4:00pm; Limit 24 Registrants; $115
  • Jim Eager (Obsessive Compulsive Birding) & David Goodwin (FOS) with…
    Meet at the EFSC bus circle to board the bus. Box lunch is provided. Restroom stops will be made at porta potties.

A pre-dawn start at Three Lakes WMA will target Red-cockaded Woodpeckers, Bachman’s Sparrows, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Pine Warblers and Eastern Bluebirds. Next stop is Lake Marian Marina to look for Limpkins, night-herons and Bonaparte’s Gulls. Next destination is Joe Overstreet Road to search for Red-headed Woodpeckers. Along the road Eastern Meadowlarks, Savannah Sparrows, Sandhill Cranes, Wild Turkeys, American Kestrels and other raptors may be seen. Crested Caracaras and Bald Eagles nest in this area. At Joe Overstreet Landing on Lake Kissimmee we’ll look for Snail Kites, Limpkins and Purple Gallinules in addition to the usual wading birds and inland gulls and terns. At Chapman’s Double C Bar Ranch, large flocks of Sandhill cranes are often found. Last stop will be the Cruickshank Sanctuary in Rockledge for Florida’s only endemic bird, the Florida Scrub-Jay.

Florida Scrub-Jay & Scrub Fire Ecology
  • Jan. 25 & 26, 8:30am-12:30pm; Limit 40 Registrants; $15
  • David Breininger, PhD & Paul Schmalzer, PhD
  • Meet at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center for the Intro followed by field trip.
  • PRE-REGISTRATION IS A MUST! Because of security requirements at Kennedy Space Center, we are restricted to offering this trip to US citizens only. All persons registering to attend this event must provide a valid driver’s license at the time of registration. No restrooms are available once you leave the MINWR Visitor Center.

The Florida Scrub-Jay, fascinating from both biological and conservation perspectives, is the only avian species restricted entirely to Florida. Endemic to the scrub habitats of peninsular Florida, Florida Scrub-Jays exhibit a suite of remarkable adaptations – much like humans, they live in family units. This is a seminar followed by a trip on a NASA bus into restricted areas of Kennedy Space Center near Happy Creek to see Florida Scrub-Jay families. We will focus on the Florida Scrub-Jay, its habitat use, demography and sociobiology in different types of habitat with an emphasis on fire ecology. Dave Breininger is a wildlife ecologist and Paul Schmalzer is a plant ecologist at the Kennedy Space Center.

Happy Creek is less than three miles from the historic Space Shuttle Launch Pads, LC 39-A and LC 39-B. The SpaceX Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets now launch from LC 39-A.

Florida Wildlife Hospital Tour
  • Jan. 24, 9:00am-11:00am; Limit 20 Registrants; $15
  • Meet at the Florida Wildlife Hospital, 4560 North U.S. Highway 1, Palm Shores FL, 32935 (Just south of the big red cross).

So, you think you might want to try wildlife care? Come and learn what it takes to rehabilitate sick, injured or orphaned Florida native wildlife and migratory birds. You will see the tricks of the trade, from the creative anesthesia mask for pelicans to strength training for long-term patients. You will enjoy behind-the-scenes access to this unique facility where a bobcat can come in one minute and a warbler the next. Ever since opening in 1973, our mission has always remained the same: to aid injured, sick and orphaned Florida native wildlife and migratory birds and return them to their place in the ecosystem. Patient numbers have increased steadily over the years with about 5000 animals now annually getting care.

Historic Pritchard House and Gardens Tour
  • Jan. 24 & 25, 2:30pm – 4:30pm; Limit 16 Registrants; $20
  • Jan. 26, 12:30am – 2:30pm; Limit 16 registrants; $20
  • North Brevard Heritage Foundation, Inc.
  • Meet at the historic Pritchard House, 424 South Washington Ave. (US 1), Titusville, FL

This fine example of Queen Anne style architecture was built of heart pine on this site in 1891 for Capt. James Pritchard and family. Capt. Pritchard organized Titusville’s first bank in 1888, and later built Titusville’s first electric generating plant. The house was placed on the National Register in 1990. Five generations of Pritchards continuously occupied the house until it was purchased by the County for preservation in 2005. The house has been beautifully restored and is furnished with period antiques and accessories. Various collections are exhibited throughout the house with tours conducted by docents in period dress.

See a display of vintage feathered hats and learn how early conservation efforts established laws to prohibit the slaughter of native birds. Gardens with plaques that tell the history of early settlers are open for self-guided tours throughout the day. Song birds, ospreys, and egrets often visit. For additional information call 321-607-0203 or visit

Historic Sites of Canaveral National Seashore
  • Jan. 26, 8:30pm-4:30pm; Limit 12 Registrants; $80
  • John & Edie Stiner
  • Meet at EFSC bus circle to board bus.
  • Bring money for lunch at J.B.’s Fish Camp on Mosquito Lagoon.

An undeveloped beach with up to 8,000 sea turtle nests each summer contains a variety of resources. Walk with former National Park Service Ranger John Stiner as he visits four sites and unfolds intriguing secrets. Turtle Mound, one of the tallest, best-known archeological sites in Florida is displayed on Spanish maps in the 16th century, being an important navigational guide. Climb to the top and view a panorama of ocean, estuary and beaches. Castle Windy is a smaller mound, lying in the shadows of maritime hammock on the edge of Mosquito Lagoon. Learn of the mystery here for birders to ponder. Seminole Rest dates back 4,000 years. Archeological discoveries and dialog with Native Americans make this site worth visiting. El Dora State House displays life along Florida waterway in the early 1900’s, reflecting a less hectic era. Learn about a dramatic clash between French Huguenots and Spanish soldiers in 1565 that may have changed the history of Florida, leaving clues about a still undiscovered shipwreck in park waters.

Lake Apopka Northshore
  • Jan. 23 & 24, 5:00am-4:00pm, Limit 19 Registrants; $115
  • Rosi Mulholland (SJRWMD), Jim Peterson (SJRWMD) & Maria Zondervan (SJRWMD) with
  • Jan. 23: Jim Eager (Obsessive Compulsive Birding), David Goodwin (FOS) with…
  • Jan. 24: Adam Kent (FOS), Gina Kent (Avian Research & Conservation Institute) with…
  • Meet at EFSC bus circle to board the bus. Box lunch is included. There are porta potties located throughout the restoration area.

This property is one of the premier locations in the southeastern United States to observe birds. A 1998 Christmas Bird Count identified 174 species of birds in the area, the highest species total for an inland count in the 115-year history of the CBC. The list of birds found here continues to grow, with 362 species having been recorded. During the winter months, more than 150 species regularly use the property, from showy herons and egrets to numerous tiny warblers and flycatchers. Other wildlife found here includes alligators, turtles, bobcats, otters, raccoons, snakes and coyotes. Former farmlands make up the Lake Apopka North Shore, a restoration area where the St. Johns River Water Management District’s major activities include marsh and floodplain restoration and the creation of a marsh flow-way that filters Lake Apopka’s waters by circulating lake water through restored wetlands, returning cleaner water to the lake. The district’s work here also includes enhancing wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities. If the weather allows, attendees on this trip will get to experience the District’s brand-new bench trailer, starting with the dawn chorus at the most optimum spot and continuing on the wildlife drive, which will be closed to the public. Ninety-three species of birds were seen on last year’s SCBWF trips to the North Shore, including 14 species of ducks.

Lake Woodruff NWR
  • Jan. 26 & 27, 5:00am-12:30pm; 24 Registrants; $80
  • David Hartgrove
  • Meet at EFSC bus circle to board bus. Snack packs included. You may want to bring snacks as well. There is a composting toilet in the parking lot but no facilities out on the dikes.

If you love nature and don’t like to fight the crowds, this is the place for you! The refuge impoundments at Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge provide important nesting and feeding areas for large numbers of waterfowl, wading birds and shorebirds. Winter is an exceptionally good time of the year to visit this Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail site. Large flocks of Glossy Ibis are present and Limpkins are a common sight. We should see Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal, Mottled Duck and Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs in addition to alligators, marsh bunnies, river otters and turtles. On this approximately 2 3/4-mile walk, we will scan the reed beds for American Bitterns and listen for Sedge Wrens and look for a variety of sparrows, including Swamp, Savannah and, if we’re lucky, LeConte’s Sparrows. Festival attendees on this trip last year were treated to great looks at a very cooperative LeConte’s Sparrow.

Learning to Look - Orlando Wetlands Park
  • Jan. 24 & 25, 7:00am-10:30am; Limit 14 Registrants; $60
  • Richard Crossley
  • Meet at the OWP parking lot.

These trips, with Richard Crossley, will be spent as a slow leisurely walk learning to identify every bird that we see. The emphasis will be on looking at birds rather than counting them. Richard is the author of the award-winning Crossley ID Guide series. His newest book is The Crossley ID Guide: Waterfowl. People are often surprised how much information they can gather when there is seemingly so little to see. Have you ever wondered how the experts identify a distant dark speck without lifting their binoculars? The focus will be on waterfowl and waders, gulls and terns, raptors and anything else that flies by. Richard will expose their secrets and show that the best observers do it by mastering the basics. But, what are the basics? ‘Learning to look’ will change the way you look at birds!

Orlando Wetlands Park Tram Tour
  • Jan. 25, 26 & 27, 6:30am-11:30am; Limit 18 Registrants; $65
  • Simon Thompson (Ventures Birding Tours) with…
  • Meet at the Orlando Wetlands Park parking lot. Restrooms are available at the parking lot but not out on the dikes.

This regional water treatment area, owned by the City of Orlando, began receiving reclaimed water in 1987, submerging the 1700- acre Sun Charm Ranch beneath millions of gallons of treated sewage. For 30 years the City closed the park during winter months so that the former owners could hunt waterfowl, until 2016 when it bought the hunting rights. Join us as we take a trip into the park where more than 220 bird species have been identified including Wood Storks, Bald Eagles, Crested Caracaras, Limpkins, Purple Gallinules, rails and spoonbills. Painted Buntings lurk in some of the dense vegetation bordering the 20 miles of roads and woodland trails leading through marshes, hardwood hammocks and along scenic lakes. Large numbers of waterfowl and wading birds are expected. Other wildlife found here includes alligators, turtles, deer, hogs, bobcats, otters, raccoons, opossums, snakes and coyotes. We will be touring on trams driven by OWP volunteers. There will be multiple stops with walking to spy the best birds.

Playalinda Beach: Sea-birding from Shore
  • Jan. 26, 7:15am-10:00am; Limit 12 Registrants; $45
  • Mitchell Harris
  • Meet at the Parrish Park Boat Ramp parking lot.

Sea-watching is looking for birds over the ocean from shore, best done with spotting scope and binoculars. It’s more challenging because one has to learn to identify most of the birds in flight. This field class will focus on clues to look for and how best to approach identifying flying seabirds. Learn what conditions improve one’s chances of seeing the largest diversity of seabirds from shore. Playalinda Beach will be our classroom and although bird flights along the shore have wide variability depending on conditions, I can guarantee we’ll have seabirds to work with. Some of January possibilities from Playalinda include: six common species of gulls and 3 rare ones; Parasitic Jaeger, Common and Red-throated Loon, Red Phalarope (occasional), all three scoters with Black being the most common, Northern Gannett and Manx Shearwater (rare). So, join us for a day of sea- spray and sulids. It will be an eye-opener.

Red-cockaded Woodpeckers & More at Hal Scott
  • Jan. 25, 5:00am-11:30am; Limit 16 Registrants; $60
  • Maria Zondervan (SJRWMD) & Lorne Malo (FWC)
  • Meet in the BCC parking lot south of the Gymnatorium at 5:00 to make car pool arrangements. There are no restrooms at the site! Walking distance for this site will be around 2 miles (or you can stay in the eco-buggy), some of which may be through mud and standing water. Water-friendly footwear is recommended.

Biologists Maria Zondervan & Lorne Malo will lead an early morning trip at the Hal Scott Regional Preserve & Park (4500 Dallas Blvd., Orlando, FL 32833). On-site transportation will be done by bench trailer to first visit an active Red-cockaded Woodpecker (RCW) cavity tree cluster to stake out roost trees and await the rise of a RCW family as they begin their morning foraging. From there we will search for other inhabitants of the pine flatwoods and wet prairies, and work our way to the Econlockhatchee River swamp. Numerous woodland birds, marsh birds, wading birds and raptors (> 150 species) have been recorded here, including Bachman’s Sparrow and Brown-headed Nuthatch.

Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands at Viera
  • Jan. 23, 26 & 27, 6:15am-11:30am; Limit 17 Registrants; $65
  • Tom Ledford
  • Meet at EFSC bus circle to board bus. There are porta potties in the parking lot but none out on the dikes.

Join your leaders for a laid-back morning of birding at one of Brevard County’s premier birding sites. Since its opening, this site has rapidly gained popularity with birders, wildlife watchers and photographers. During fall and winter, a remarkable diversity of bird species uses these wetlands and nearby prairie hammocks and cabbage palm savannahs. A variety of waterfowl winter here. Several families of Crested Caracaras maintain territories around the wetlands, and Limpkins, bitterns and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are regularly seen. Ponds on the north side of the complex are productive for shorebirds when water levels are low, especially during migration.

River to the Sea Rundown (Formerly North Brevard Hotspots)
  • Jan. 23, 24, 26 & 27, 6:30am-3:30pm; Limit 24 Registrants; $85
  • Lorne Malo (FWC) & Sarah Linney
  • Meet at EFSC bus circle to board the bus. This trip requires moderate walking. Bring money for lunch at Dixie Crossroads. Restroom stops will be made at public restrooms and convenience stores along the way.

Yep, we used to call this trip the North Brevard Hotspots. Twenty years ago, this part of the county was loaded with little pockets of undeveloped land. And although the smaller pieces have succumbed to moderate growth, northern Brevard is fortunate to be home to some of the nation’s most significant conservation lands. Join us for a laid-back trip through the pines and palmettos of North Brevard’s scrublands and wetlands to see as many birds as we can. We will celebrate the dawn chorus and relish the rising sun along the banks of the St Johns River, then work our way across the landscape to the high energy beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. Numerous woodland birds, marsh birds, wading birds, beach birds and raptors are possible — this trip has tallied approximately 108 species over the years. Specific sites
to be visited will be determined during pre-festival scouting trips and will include Hatbill Park, Seminole Ranch, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore. A lunch stop will be made at Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant. Starters, soups, salads, sandwiches and baskets range from $7- $21; entrees from $11-$40.

Salt Lake Wildlife Management Area
  • Jan. 25, 6:45am-11:30am; Limit 24 Registrants; $20
  • Dave Turner (FWC) & Bryan Ames (FWC)
  • Meet at Salt Lake WMA, 1590 Arch Rd., Mims. There is a porta pottie located at the Salt Lake WMA main entrance. No restroom facilities are available during the trip.

Salt Lake WMA’s 8,000 acres border three large lakes and the St. Johns River in northern Brevard County. Don’t miss this chance to explore it in a bench seat trailer. Home to a spectacular range of natural communities, this beautiful property includes pine flatwoods, hardwood hammocks and oak scrub on higher ground; oak and cabbage palm hammocks, swamps, freshwater marshes, wet prairies, and salt flats occupy the wetter locales. Numerous wading birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, and raptors can be found on the lakes and marshes and the river. Bald Eagles and Wild Turkeys are commonly seen. The flatwoods provide good habitat for woodpeckers and songbirds, such as the Eastern Bluebird and Bachman’s Sparrow. Florida Scrub-Jays and Gopher Tortoises are found in the oak scrub. Deer, feral hogs, river otters, alligators and turtles may also be seen. This extraordinary opportunity to be able to ride through the management area rather than walk it, as well as the reasonable cost, is a benefit of the Watchable Wildlife public access program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Shiloh’s Sharptails, Marshbirds and More
  • Jan. 24 & 25; 6:15am-11:00am; Limit 16 Registrants; $60
  • Mitchell Harris
  • Meet at the Kangaroo Express, 6004 US Highway 1, Scottsmoor FL. Use the restroom there if necessary because there are no restrooms available for the remainder of the morning.

This trip begins in the marshes where Turnbull Creek drains into the northern end of the Indian River Lagoon. There we will look for both Nelson’s and Saltmarsh Sparrows, Sedge Wrens and Clapper Rails. Short-eared Owls are seen here occasionally as well. After ample time in the marsh we’ll walk east along the dike system that skirts the edge of Shiloh’s extensive marshes and impoundments looking for ducks, shorebirds and waders. This is an area of rich estuaries and ponds that teem with wildlife. Bring Muck Boots or shoes that you don’t mind getting wet for the sparrow search. You can change your shoes before starting on the walk, which will be 3-4 four miles long.

Smyrna Dunes Park
  • Jan. 26 & 27, 8:00am-11:30am; Limit 26 Registrants; $35
  • Joan Tague with
  • Jan. 27: Special Guest: Kevin Karlson
  • Meet at Smyrna Dunes Park, 2995 N. Peninsula Ave., New Smyrna Beach. Entry Fee is $10 per car. There are restrooms at the trailhead/picnic area.

This spectacular beachside park at Ponce Inlet offers panoramic views of the ocean, inlet and estuary as well as the opportunity to get close looks at gulls, terns and shorebirds. Take a leisurely two-mile walk via boardwalk over pristine coastal dune habitat (watch for Gopher Tortoises) and along the shoreline. Brown and White Pelicans, Black Skimmers, Common Loons, cormorants and numerous species of gulls and terns are found here and there
is always a chance to discover a rare gull. Up to twenty species of shorebirds are possible, including American Oystercatchers, Piping and Wilson’s Plovers, Purple Sandpipers and Red Knots. Bait fish activity at the inlet’s mouth attracts sea birds, especially Northern Gannets. Sparrows and passerines are possible in the salt marsh.

St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park
  • Jan. 24 & 26, 4:30am-12:00pm; limit 16 Registrants, $75
  • Samantha McGee (Florida State Parks) & David Simpson (Birding with David Simpson)
  • Meet at bus circle at EFSC to board bus. There are restrooms at the Visitor Center at the Park. No restrooms are available during the truck tour, which will last approx. 3 1⁄2 hours. Snack packs are included. You may want to bring snacks as well. During the field trip, participants will sit on hay bales in the back of pick-up trucks. Some walking through pinewoods and saw palmettos will be required for moderate distances.

Join us on this exclusive trip where the small group size will provide an extraordinary experience and reduce stress on the birds. The early start allows us to catch Red-cockaded Woodpeckers leaving their nest cavities around sunrise. Many pinewoods specialties call this 22,000+ acre site home. Several Red-cockaded Woodpecker families and more than 40 families of Florida Scrub-Jays are found here. Bachman’s Sparrows are abundant, though only just beginning to sing at this time of the year. Brown-headed Nuthatches commonly join the foraging flocks of songbirds. David and the preserve biologist, Samantha McGee will give you the inside scoop on how the preserve is managed for these special birds and their habitats. After watching the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers emerge, we will tour other parts of the preserve in search of Florida Scrub-Jays and other woodland birds.

T. M. Goodwin WMA – Broadmoor Unit
  • Jan 23, 25 & 27, 5:00am-3:00pm; Limit 24 Registrants; $100
  • David Simpson (Birding with David Simpson) with…
  • Meet at bus circle at EFSC to board bus. Box lunch included. Once at the site, restrooms are limited to a porta pottie out on the dike. The bus will stop at a convenience store on the way.

Join us for a special driving tour of the back side of this 3,870- acre wetland restoration project located in the Upper Basin of the St. Johns River. The Upper Basin Project is a model for the much larger endeavor to restore Florida’s Everglades. This is the best trip of the Festival for the possibility of seeing Fulvous Whistling-ducks and Gray-headed (Purple) Swamphens. Snail Kites have become downright common and we should have good looks at Roseate Spoonbills, Limpkins, Purple Gallinules and more. It takes a while to get to the Broadmoor Unit and to sort through the abundance of waterfowl and wading birds. Although we may have to pass by some birds on the way, the end result will be worthwhile.

Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area
  • Jan. 23, 24 & 25, 6:15am-11:30am; Limit 18 Registrants; $40
  • Lynn Proenza (FWC) & Casey Dorsch (FWC)
  • Meet at site, 3365 Taylor Creek Road, Christmas FL 32709. There are composting toilets at the entrance but not out on the roads and trails. This will be a car trip with stops along the way where attendees can get out and walk for short distances. Entrance fee is $3 per car.

The Tosohatchee marshes are feeding areas for wading birds and, during winter months, host large numbers of migrating waterfowl. Forested uplands support deer, bobcats, gray foxes, wild turkeys, woodpeckers, hawks, owls, and songbirds. Some of the threatened and endangered species found at the reserve include Bald Eagle, Wood Stork, Eastern Indigo Snake, Gopher Tortoise, and, on rare occasions, the Florida Panther. Birds of interest include Bachman’s Sparrow, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Florida Sandhill Crane. Shaped by alternating cycles of fire and flood, Tosohatchee WMA is a mosaic of marshes, swamps, pine flatwoods and oak hammocks that borders 19 miles of the St Johns River. Deep inside the reserve, Jim Creek flows through some of the last remaining virgin cypress swamps in Florida.

Turkey Creek Tract - Charles H. Bronson State Forest
  • Jan. 23 & 25; 6:45am-11:00am; Limit 8 Registrants; $60
  • Stephen Stipkovits (Florida Forestry Service) & David Hartgrove
  • Meet at Chuluota Wilderness Area, 3895 Curryville Rd., Chuluota, FL. There are no restrooms here. No restrooms are available during the trip. Portions of the property will be wet and muddy – be sure to dress appropriately.

Among Florida’s most significant conservation efforts, public lands now cover 125 square miles of land west of Titusville. The Turkey Creek Tract was one of the final shoreline acquisition properties along the most truly wild section of the St. Johns River. An exclusive van tour will access this unique property, which is home to hundreds of wintering Sandhill Cranes and dozens of Wild Turkeys as well as Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Meadowlark, American Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk and Loggerhead Shrike. Bald Eagles nest immediately off-site to the north and a pair of Crested Caracaras inhabit the St. Johns River marsh on the east side of the tract. Shorebirds, wading birds, and waterfowl can be found on the river’s floodplain. Some walking (1-2 miles) may be necessary, depending on water levels. This St. Johns River Water Management District and State of Florida property is an addition to the Charles H. Bronson State Forest, which has allowed the Festival to again tour the property.

Wildflowers, Plants, & Other Things of the North Brevard Area
  • Jan. 23, 8:45am-3:30pm; Limit 16 Registrants; $20
  • Jan. 25, 9:45am-4:30pm; Limit 16 Registrants; $20
  • Jim Stahl
  • Meet at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Bring money for lunch at one of Titusville’s fine restaurants.

The many habitats of Florida (deciduous forest, oak/palm hammocks, pine flatwoods, scrub, sand hills, coastal dunes, prairies, marshes, swamps, roadsides) support more than 4,000 species of native and naturalized plants as well as many horticultural exotics. Over one-quarter of these are found here on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Retired Land Manager and Wildlife Biologist, Jim Stahl will start the day with slides of the more common plants on the Refuge followed by short walks thru an oak hammock, pine flatwoods, scrub, and by a brackish marsh. Commentary will include identification hints, family relationships, habitats, plant uses by people and wildlife, and good plant books. During the day when we come across birds, reptiles, spiders, butterflies and other insects, they will be pointed out, but the emphasis will be on the plants. The Refuge is home to many beautiful and unique plants and animals and you never know what you might encounter.

Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Field Trips

North Region

Birding by Ear
  • Jan. 24, 7:30am-9:30am; Limit 16 Registrants; $15
  • Lora Losi and Matt Heyden
  • Meet at Enchanted Forest Sanctuary, 444 Columbia Blvd., Titusville, FL.

Using bird sounds is an important tool for all birders, and can make you seem clairvoyant! Explore how to get started with various techniques, hints and technologies to help you learn. See how doing a little preliminary work and using your ears before your eyes and binoculars can enhance your birding experience. Following a classroom presentation, we will practice our new powers of observation with a walk through the forest.

Nocturnal Nature Hike at Enchanted Forest
  • Jan. 26, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Limit 20 Registrants; $15
  • Alex Robertson, Jen Howell, Patty Rendon
  • Meet at the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary, 444 Columbia Blvd., Titusville, FL.

Whhoooo… is ready for a nocturnal adventure at the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary? Join Naturalists on a night of discovery and exploration. Please wear closed-toe shoes and bring water, bug spray and a flashlight.

Really Rare Plant Walk
  • Jan 26, 9:00am-12:00pm; Limit 16 Registrants; $15
  • Jim Stahl
  • Meet at the Dicerandra Scrub Sanctuary entrance: 4900 Melissa Drive, Titusville, FL. There are no restrooms at the site.

Come and see the rarest of the rare plants in Brevard County where there grows a mint that exists nowhere else in the world but right here in Titusville in a sanctuary named for it, the Dicerandra Scrub Sanctuary. Join retired biologist Jim Stahl for a leisurely walk through this beautiful example of Florida scrub habitat. Scrub is among Florida’s most threatened ecosystems. Because they are dry, more than 90% of the state’s historic scrub lands have been developed. Dicerandra Scrub is one of the most important properties in the EEL collection of special places. It consists mostly of scrubby flatwoods and a large depression marsh and is adjacent to the Titusville Wellfield, which also supports scrub, extending the protection area and enhancing the Sanctuary. Protected plant and wildlife species documented on this site include Florida Scrub-Jay, Eastern Indigo Snake, Gopher Tortoise and, of course, Dicerandra thinicola, at its only known occurrence in the world.

Scottsmoor Flatwoods Sanctuary Trailer Tour
  • Jan. 24, 9:00am-11:00am, Limit 16 Registrants; $15
  • Selena Kiser, Jen Howell, Deb Robinson
  • Meet at Scottsmoor Flatwoods Sanctuary/Parrish Park, 6000 Magoon Ave., Scottsmoor, FL

The 1500-acre Scottsmoor Flatwoods Sanctuary preserves a fine example of the upland and wetland communities that once covered larger areas of Brevard County. The effects of natural prescribed burning and other habitat restoration efforts here have resulted
in a striking old Florida landscape that supports a high number of endemic plant and animal species. We will enjoy a leisurely bench- trailer ride through the flatwoods to view birds and other wildlife.

Snake Presentation at Enchanted Forest
  • Jan. 24, 10:00am-11:00am, Limit 20 Registrants; $15
  • Alex Robertson
  • Meet at the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary, 444 Columbia Blvd., Titusville, FL.

Come out to the forest and learn all about these fascinating reptiles during this informative talk. Meet some live snakes!

South Lake Conservation Area
  • Jan. 23, 9:00am-10:30am, Limit 20 Registrants; 15
  • Damien Keene, Jonny Baker
  • Meet at South Lake CA, 4500 Lancaster Lane, Titusville, FL. There are no restrooms at the site.

The South Lake Conservation Area is a 155-acre property managed by the EEL Program following its 1999 acquisition from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Florida Scrub-Jay mitigation property. This land consists primarily of scrub and scrubby flatwoods communities. In December 2008, four Florida Scrub-Jays were successfully relocated onto the property by the Brevard Zoo and the EEL Program. In addition, two birds naturally moved to the property. The site is currently home to several Florida Scrub-Jay families. Join this field trip to explore the conservation area, observe the native flora, watch the Florida Scrub-Jay flyovers and occasional landings on your head. Another asset of this land is that it sits right in Titusville for wonderful morning and afternoon hikes.

Central Region

Florida Scrub Jay Hike at Cruickshank Sanctuary
  • Jan. 24 & Jan. 27, 8:30am-10:30am; Limit 20 Registrants; $15
  • Vince Lamb and Mark Prynoski
  • Meet at the Helen & Alan Cruickshank Sanctuary, 360 Barnes Blvd., Rockledge, FL. There are no restrooms at the site..

The Helen and Alan Cruickshank Sanctuary in Rockledge is considered to be one of the best EEL Sanctuary properties to observe Florida Scrub-Jays, a threatened species that is Florida’s only endemic bird. When the environment meets their needs, Florida Scrub-Jays will spend their entire lives on the same lands. The Cruickshank Sanctuary is located on the Atlantic Coastal Ridge, a sandy relic maritime dune line that extends along the Florida East Coast from Jacksonville down to Miami. Patches of oak, sand pine scrub, and freshwater depression marshes add to the Sanctuary’s diversity. Since the EEL Program began land management at the 168-acre Sanctuary, the Florida Scrub Jay population has increased from a few visiting birds to established colonies today; approximately 22 birds in 5 separate families. Gopher Tortoises, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Scrub Lizards and other species requiring scrub habitat are often observed in the Sanctuary. (Be sure to wear a hat, closed toe shoes, bring water, and sunscreen).

Owls of Florida
  • Jan. 24, 6:00pm-8:30pm; Limit 20 Registrants; $15
  • Corianne Conway, Martha Pessaro and Featuring Susan Boorse
  • Meet at Sams House, 6195 N. Tropical Trail, Merritt Island, FL.

Meet in the oldest standing structure in Brevard County as you meet two representatives of our Owl species that reside in Florida, and learn about the habitat and importance of the owls of Florida. Susan Boorse will present a program on the World of Florida Owls featuring her ambassadors who are her rehabilitation wards, Boots, a Great Horned Owl, and Dora, an Eastern Screech Owl. After the presentation we will take a short trip into the habitat of the Sams House Trails where we will make our expedition on a nocturnal observation journey to discover the After Dark World of the Sanctuary trails (good hiking shoes advised, as well as a flashlight for the Trail hike).

South Pine Flatwoods Hike at Pine Island Conservation Area
  • Jan. 26, 10am-12:00pm; Limit 20 Registrants$15
  • Corianne Conway
  • Meet at the Sams House at Pine Island Conservation Area 6195 North Tropical Trail Merritt Island, FL.

This adventure will commence at the Sams House at Pine Island Conservation Area and carpool up to the Trailhead. The Pine Island South Pine Flatwoods Trail features several opportunities to observe our raptors in action. This is an easy hike through conservation lands that span over 880 acres of the Pine Island Conservation Area bordering the saltmarsh and Indian River Lagoon. Walk through areas that have been managed by the EEL Program using various techniques, including prescribed burns. The flora of the area supports a myriad of wildlife, including many migratory species that may be observed on this beautiful trail. Learn about the origins of names of the Pine Island area as you enjoy this walk through a less traveled area. (Wear hats, closed toe shoes, bring water and sunscreen).

Pine Island Conservation Area Trailer Tour
  • Jan. 27, 9:00am-11:00am, Limit 16 Registrants; $15
  • David DeMeyer, Martha Pessaro
  • Meet at Pine Island Conservation Area, 2100 Pine Island Road, Merritt Island, FL.

The 880-acre Pine Island Conservation Area preserves a fine example of restored saltmarsh habitat and pine flatwoods communities that once covered larger areas of Brevard County bordering the Indian River Lagoon. The effects of natural prescribed burning and other habitat restoration efforts here have resulted in a striking old Florida landscape that supports a high number of endemic plant and animal species, as well as the origin of the name Pine Island. We will enjoy a leisurely bench-trailer ride through the conservation area to view birds and other wildlife, and discuss the land management techniques employed by the County. Learn about the flora and fauna from the vantage point of this modern wildlife observation trailer.

South Region

Malabar Scrub Hiking Tour
  • Jan. 25, 8:00am-10:00am; Limit 15 Registrants; $15
  • Chris O’Hara, EEL South Region Manager
  • Meet at the Malabar Scrub Sanctuary, 1501 Malabar Woods Boulevard, Malabar, FL.

Malabar Scrub Sanctuary is a 400-acre property that was once slated for a 700-home subdivision. It was purchased by the EEL Program and turned into a nature preserve. The variety of habitats found here make it an ideal place for visitors to learn how wetland and upland communities interact. This 3-mile easy hike will take you through scrub, pine flatwoods and close to several wetlands. The hike will focus on several projects that improved the scrub habitat for the Florida Scrub-Jay, Gopher Tortoise and Eastern Indigo Snake.

South Beach Region

Shorebirds of the Carr Refuge
  • Jan. 25, 9:30am-11:00am; Limit 15 Registrants; $15
  • Mike Lee, EEL Volunteer, Master Naturalist, and Shorebird Alliance Surveyor
  • Meet at the Barrier Island Sanctuary, 8385 S. Highway A1A Melbourne Beach, FL 32951

Observe and Identify shorebirds from the Barrier Island Sanctuary overlook and along the adjacent beach. Learn about the Shorebird Alliance and how you can become a citizen scientist. Water and insect repellent recommended.

Up-cycled Bird Feeders and Nesting Dispensers (Youth)
  • Jan. 27, 1:00pm-2:30pm; Limit 15 Children + 15 accompanying adults; $15
  • EEL Staff and Volunteers
  • Meet at the Barrier Island Sanctuary, 8385 S. Highway A1A Melbourne Beach, FL 32951

Repurpose single use food containers into bird feeders and nesting dispensers. Children (recommended ages 5 -12) will create and take home a one-of-a-kind eco-art piece for the yard that is also functional. Wear clothes appropriate for painting. One child per registered adult, please.


Birding by Ear and Habitat
  • Jan 26 & 27; 6:30am-12:30pm; Limit 12 Registrants; $60
  • Paddy Cunningham (Birding Adventures)
  • Meet at the Oak Hammock Trail parking lot, 1/2 mile east of the MINWR Visitor Center. There are no restrooms here however a restroom stop will be made at the Refuge Visitor Center following the walk on the trail.Birding by Habitat helps you determine what birds you are likely to see in an area. Birding by Ear helps to locate and identify the unique sounds of each bird. In this session, a variety of field techniques will be covered to help you increase your birding skills. We will travel to various habitats: scrub, pinelands, open field, shoreline, open water, wetlands, and roadsides to see the role of habitat in identification. Handouts will be distributed and discussed. Historically, this workshop averages 80 species with a high of 96 species for both days. Paddy Cunningham is a Naturalist, owner of Birding Adventures, and the Everglades Birding Festival Coordinator. Her motto is “You learn the ID,” and she excels in teaching birding skills in a non-intimidating field experience.
Birding by Impression
  • Jan. 23, 7:30am-11:30am; Limit 18 Registrants; $60
  • Kevin T. Karlson and Joao Jara (Birds and Nature Tours Portugal)
  • Meet at the Parrish Park Boat Ramp parking lot. There are restrooms at Parrish Park and halfway through the Black Point Wildlife Drive on MINWR.

Join Kevin and Joao for a relaxed birding experience to Black Point Drive and other productive nearby locations. These professional guides will share a different approach to birding as highlighted in Kevin and Dale Rosselet’s book in the Roger Tory Peterson Reference Series called Birding by Impression: A Different Approach to Knowing and Identifying Birds. We will concentrate initially on the relative size, shape and behavior of each bird, and then use conventional field marks and details to form a comprehensive ID picture. This trip only accepts 18 participants so that you can get to know the leaders and experience a different ID approach that is more personal in nature. Come and share a different way of looking at birds, with the main~ emphasis on having fun with the group. Kevin is an author and Joao runs the tour company, “Birds and Nature Tours Portugal.” Kevin will sign copies of his books during this trip or at the Merritt Island booth in the Exhibit center.

Eastern Warblers – A Comparative Interactive Workshop
  • Jan. 26, 1:00pm-2:30pm; 4-119; Limit 40 Registrants; $15
  • Kevin T. KarlsonThis workshop mostly includes Eastern warblers, with a few extralimital species. Each species is shown in digital photo arrays that have most of the plumage possibilities in one frame (breeding male/female, nonbreeding, and immature). This comparison allows you to see the differences in each species in one view, which helps with your retention of important ID points. Similar species are also shown together in digital arrays to allow for direct comparison of differences. MostphotosarefromKevin’spopular“Warblersof North America” laminated foldout guide. Thirty minutes of quiz photos test your power of retention at the end. Come and witness the challenges of warbler ID, and see the power of comparative viewing to separate similar species.
Gulls and More at Jetty Park
  • Jan. 26 & 27, 7:30am-11:30am; Limit 18 Registrants; $30
  • Amar Ayyash & TBD
  • Meet at the east end of Jetty Park by the boardwalks to the beach. There is a fee for entrance to Jetty Park: $5 per car for Brevard County residents and $15 for non-residents.

There’s a lot going on at this beachside park where the waters of Port Canaveral kiss the sea. It features a 1200-foot fishing pier over the top of a rock jetty that teems with wildlife. Watercraft of all shapes and sizes come and go, from commercial and recreational fishing boats to some of the world’s largest cruise ships. Lush vegetated dunes give way to a wide beach where larids loaf, providing outstanding opportunities to observe, photograph and compare various plumages and age classes in gull species in a natural habitat versus a landfill. Terns, gannets, shorebirds and wading birds are also probable.

Gull Fly-In at Daytona Beach Shores
  • Jan. 24 & 25; 3:30pm-6:00pm; Limit 30 Registrants; $45
  • Amar Ayyash & Michael Brothers with additional Leaders TBD
  • Meet at Frank Rendon Park, 2705 S. Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach Shores, FL. There are restrooms at the park.This beach has what may be the largest congregation of gulls on any beach in the US. In addition to the amazing array and density of gulls, the birds allow close approach. This presents an extraordinary opportunity to observe and photograph minute details on each species, and a chance to compare various plumages and age classes. The amazing concentration builds to possibly as many as 30,000 gulls each evening. Seen consistently here are species that are rare in Florida, including the only record of Vega Gull. Laughing, Franklin, Ring-billed, Herring, Bonaparte’s, Lesser Black-backed, Great Black- backed, Glaucous, Iceland, Thayer’s and California Gulls have all been recorded. Possible European Herring Gull, Yellow-legged Gull and a Slaty-backed Gull have appeared. This beach is also the best location in Florida to regularly see jaegers from shore. Each evening the gulls leave the beach and settle on the ocean just beyond the breakers. Pomarine and Parasitic Jaegers regularly patrol these huge groups, harassing the gulls.
Gull ID at the Brevard County Landfill
  • Jan. 23, 24 & 25, 7:30am-11:30am; Limit 10 Registrants; $25
  • Amar Ayyash & Michael Brothers with Joel Reynolds & Rita Perini
  • Meet at the north side of the parking lot at the Titusville IHOP Restaurant, 3755 Cheney Highway, in order to car pool to the Landfill. There are restrooms in the Administration Building at the Landfill where the initial attendee orientation occurs.

Welcome to the Brevard County Central Disposal Facility in Cocoa, Fla. — a birder’s paradise. You don’t want to miss this rare opportunity to interact with two of the country’s most knowledgeable gull experts where thousands of gulls gather. Conditions will allow for close comparison of similar species with many different age classes and plumages. Commonly seen are Bonaparte’s, Laughing, Ring-billed, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Possible rare ones include Glaucus Gull, Iceland (Kumlien’s) Gull, Thayer’s Gull and California Gull. Who knows what may turn up? A Black-headed Gull was found in 2018 – an exceedingly rare occurrence in Florida. Your hosts for this adventure are Rita Perini, Environmental Scientist at the Solid Waste Operations Facility, and Wildlife Photographer, Joel Reynolds.

Gulls Simplified: A Comparative Approach to Identification
  • Jan. 23, 1:00pm-2:30pm: AUD; $15
  • Kevin Karlson and Michael Brothers

Gull ID has always been troublesome for birders, largely due to the variety of plumages that gulls show at different ages. Hopefully Pete Dunne’s and Kevin’s new book, Gulls Simplified: A Comparative Identification Approach (Princeton University Press, 2018) will change that. This workshop starts with a simple review of basic ID terms relating to gulls without technical jargon, and then moves to a review of Eastern U.S. gulls’ non-changeable features, including size, body shape, and general plumage patterns to form a solid foundation for your ID. Comparative photos showing similar species together in real life and digitized photo arrays of a species plumage variation help you to understand the differences between gulls. Give gulls one more chance and share this simpler approach to ID with Michael and Kevin.

Learning Gull ID – Intermediate and Advanced Topics
  • Jan. 23, 3:30pm-5:00pm; 4-119; Limit 40 Registrants; $15
  • Amar Ayyash (Blogger/Speaker)Gulls have gained a love-hate relationship with many birders. Among these larids are some of the most coveted bird species in the world, but not without their challenges. Recent genetic data and frequent hybridization in this family compel us to reassess the very concept of a species. Amar will touch on these topics as he highlights identification obstacles that aren’t often addressed in many field guides. This talk will emphasize several essential topics in gull identification such as the aging process, variable plumages and feather molt. Come join us and take your Gull ID skills to the next level!
Shorebirds Simplified: A Different Approach to Field ID
  • Jan. 25, 3:30pm-5:00pm; 4-119; Limit 40 Registrants; $15
  • Kevin T. Karlson

This indoor workshop helps to remove confusion that exists with field identification of shorebirds. Formerly a difficult task reserved for experts, shorebird ID becomes easier for all levels of birders if a relatively simple approach is taken. Starting with non-changeable features of general size, structure and behavior, a simple yet accurate first impression is formed. This is the foundation for then applying feather details and plumage patterns to reach a more complete ID picture. This program is suitable for birders of all skill levels, but we will keep the ID premise simple for casual birders. Comparative photo arrays of similar species will help with recognition of subtle differences in structure and plumage. Kevin is one of the authors of the bestselling book “The Shorebird Guide”, and has published a laminated foldout guide “Shorebirds of North America” for Quick Reference Publishing of Florida. A short quiz at the end of the program will test your powers of retention, with easy to challenging photos.

Shorebird ID Workshop
  • Jan. 26, 7:30am-11:30am; Limit 18 Registrants; $60
  • Kevin T. Karlson & Raymond VanBuskirk (BRANT)
  • Meet at the Parrish Park Boat Ramp parking lot. There are restrooms at Parrish Park and halfway through the Black Point Wildlife Drive on MINWR.

This interactive field trip/workshop shares a different approach to field ID that merges physical features with plumage details to reach a more complete ID picture. Leaders will encourage participants to note their general impressions of relative size, body shape, and structural features of each shorebird to form a personal mental picture that is unique to each person. Basic plumage patterns and behavior are then added to complete your ID. This approach is similar to the one in Kevin’s bestselling book The Shorebird Guide. Natural history information is also shared to enhance your appreciation of all birds seen on this trip. Come and experience a different way of looking at birds, and enjoy Kevin’s simple way of explaining the ID of a bird family that often causes confusion for birders. Kevin is an author and photographer and Raymond is an owner of the tour company, BRANT (Birding Research and Nature Tours).

Sparrow ID Indoor Workshop
  • Jan. 25, 1:00pm-2:30pm; 4-119; Limit 40 Registrants; $15
  • Adam Kent (Florida Ornithological Society)This workshop introduces the basics for identification of inland sparrows of the eastern U.S. Even though North American sparrows lack the bright colors of many warblers, sparrows’ distinctive shapes, interesting behaviors and subtly beautiful patterns can allow you to identify them with only a quick glance. Sure, sparrows with their often-secretive behaviors can present identification challenges. The trick is being prepared. Once you understand the basics of the combination of shapes, behaviors and patterns, you too can do away with the term“Little Brown Job.”You may even find yourself saying you are going “sparrowing” instead of birding this winter. This is a great opportunity to get your sparrow fix for the day.

Classroom Presentations

Belize: A Small Country with BIG Birding

Adrian Blanco (Pook’s Hill Lodge)

In Belize, there is birding for everyone!  We have beginners that prefer to do urban birding, or want to combine light birding with other activities. In Belize we can do birding at a Maya Site and combine culture, history, archaeology, and birding in one trip. There is also a great area of Belize called the Mountain Pine Ridge, which offers excellent bird watching opportunities for beginners and this can be combined with other activities such as mountain hiking or biking, swimming in waterfalls, and/or visiting a cave system. Secondly, for the avid and advanced birders, we have great scenery, raptor watching spots, locations that are great for warblers, flycatchers, and much more. There are places in Belize where you can get 90 species before breakfast. We also have great locations for Belize and Yucatan endemics. Thirdly, for those birders with limited mobility, our country boasts some great locations for “easy access” birding. A leisurely morning of birding from one small area or even from your lodge bar can render numerous species, including hummingbirds, tanagers, orioles, manakins, toucans, flycatchers, and even raptors just to name a few. Birding in Belize is easy, it’s fun, it is BIG. We will end by sharing what Belize is doing for wildlife conservation in terms of project and research. One of the top birding guides in Belize will also share his experiences.

Big Month Birding: Peru

Gunnar Engblom (Kolibri Expeditions)

In October 2018, Kolibri Expeditions, with the help of international birders Noah Strycker, Trevor Hardaker and Diego Calderón, made a month-long birding excursion that covered Peruvian jungles, deserts, the Andes Mountains, scrub and seas. They recorded 1006 species in that month. Join Gunnar’s talk about the experience and perhaps you’ll sign up for the October 2019 departure.

Birds and Culture in Southern Portugal

Joao Jara (Birds & Nature Tours Portugal)

Southern Portugal offers a fantastic diversity of habitats and a large variety of birds in a relatively small area, so this enables you to visit several species rich areas without needing to travel long distances. But Southern Portugal has also a rich cultural heritage, with winding streets, historic plazas and squares, an array of castles, cathedrals, museums, Roman ruins, promenades, culinary delights and great wines. Why not combine the best of both — the Birds and the Culture?

Birding in Belize

Jeronie Tut (Birding in Belize with Paradise Expeditions)

Belize is a small, English-speaking nation on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, bordered in the north by Mexico and to the south and west by Guatemala. It is a land of natural beauty, with unspoiled rivers, dense jungle, high mountains, rich agricultural lands, and a largely undeveloped coastline dominated by mangrove swamps. Some 40% of the country is forever protected by national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, natural monuments, and nature, marine, and private reserves. It is home to approximately 4,000 species of plants and trees, including some 275 kinds of orchids, more than 600 species of birds, many species of reptiles and mammals, the world’s only jaguar preserve, numerous archaeological sites and the world’s longest unbroken reef, teeming with exotic marine life. The Belize coastline remains the most sparsely populated one in Central America. Because Belize is a small country, guests can experience many different areas in a short time.  In addition to the extraordinary birding opportunities, activities include whale shark watching, diving, fishing, kayaking, and more.

Birding in Iberia

Joao Jara (Birds & Nature Tours Portugal)

This is a photographic presentation with an emphasis on why the Iberia Peninsula (Portugal & Spain) is such a special region in Europe and in the world, from the birds and wildlife point of view. Here you will find several endemic bird species. In addition to its wonderful nature, there are also numerous other interesting facets to explore in this fascinating region. Joao will talk about some of the practical aspects, should you plan a visit.

Birding Northeastern India (Assam)

Simon Thompson (Ventures Birding Tours)

When we think of India we often think of heat, ancient sites and crowded cities, but India is one of the richest countries in the world for birds. With almost 1300 species found in the country, it’s a must- visit birding destination – especially as there at least 60 of these are endemic to India. A perfect start is a visit to Assam in the northeast with Kaziranga National Park being the jewel in the crown. Indian Rhinos are common, as are Water Buffalo and Asian Elephant. Birding is also terrific with 50+ species being seen during a morning visit, including the globally-imperiled Greater and Lesser Adjutants.

Birding the Silk Road in Uzbekistan

Simon Thompson (Ventures Birding Tours)

We have heard of the Silk Road for years, but who has ever gone birding in this part of the world? The ancient cities of Samarkand and Bukhara steal the show, and it’s entertaining to watch Alpine Swifts fly in and out of these ancient buildings. The birding during the spring and early summer can be excellent; Shrikes, Bee-eaters and Rollers are common, Wheatears are abundant but the star bird has to be the Pander’s Ground-Jay – a very unusual bird restricted mainly to Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Birds in Motion

BJ Worth (Videographer for Wings In Nature [WIN])

Birds In Motion is a work-in-progress to record bird behavior in 4K video and produce a sequence of every bird that breeds in the ABA Region (North America). Each species’ 90-second sequence will ultimately portray the male, female, immature, breeding, and non-breeding plumages, will feature its typical behaviors, and will include ambient sounds heard in the natural habitats where it is depicted. BJ’s presentation will address the special challenges being faced by Wings In Nature in pursuing this project. He will also share the many ways that WIN is making these videos available to birders, to bird organizations, and to the public. For those interested in joining the BIM team, BJ will convey how WIN is reaching out to engage the birding community in a collaborative effort to move this project forward. WIN is an Education/Conservation non-profit organization that is based near Glacier National Park

Bond, James Bond... The Birder

BJ Worth (Birder; Filmmaker; Aerial stunt performer in 007 films)

When Ian Fleming was writing his first 007 novel in the ‘50’s, he was looking for an innocuous name for his main character – the equivalent of Superman’s alter-ego, the mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent. A twitcher at heart, Fleming was attending a birding conference near his adopted home in Jamaica when he noticed that the expert author on birds of the West Indies had such a name. It was Bond… James Bond. This presentation shares the intriguing story about how birds and birding have been entwined in the Bond books and films from their inception. It also peeks into the life stories of the real James Bond, Ian Fleming, and even the speaker, whose lives have been interwoven with this most classic of fictional characters.

Birding by Season - Right Place, Right Time, Right Bird

Paddy Cunningham (Birding Adventures)

Discover when and how to find the bird you seek, by learning
to Bird by Season. Through the use of checklists, annual graphs, range maps and apps you will learn to find target and life birds. The class will include an informative power point, and hand outs. If you have bird apps on your phone bring it.

Birding, Bird Photography, and Birding with a Camera in Thailand

Iain Campbell (Tropical Birding)

In 1989, when Iain first birded Thailand, it was full of birds and wild, but the birds were very skittish because of widespread hunting and trapping. Things are very different now because of the sheer numbers of Asian birders and photographers protecting the remaining birding areas. It is without doubt unparalleled in Asia. This talk explores the vast variety of birding and photography opportunities that exist, from the smoldering lowland rainforest of the Thai Peninsula to the foothills of the Himalayas at Doi Inthanon where they even hold a frost festival. The optimal locations and activities vary depending on your focus, but this talk can cover all of them, and even offers a few tricks, so that you can have your birding/photography vacation, and your non-birding spouse can think they are having a normal cultural vacation. It is a technique the author has mastered over a series of failed relationships called Guerilla Birding: promise it is a normal vacation but see lots of birds and take loads of bird photos along the way.

Choosing the Right Binoculars for Birding

Clay Taylor (Swarovski Optik)

The worst feeling in birding is when the person standing next to you is raving about how beautiful a bird is, and you cannot even find it in your binocular view. No, it is NOT your eyes – you probably need a better binocular! However, there are LOTS of binoculars on the market – how to choose? Clay’s talk will be a common sense-driven review of binocular choices: what the “numbers” mean, power vs. light gathering, field of view vs. eye relief, optical types, pricing, and more. Bring your current binocular for a quick inspection and evaluation.

Choosing a Spotting Scope – Up Your Birding Game

Clay Taylor (Swarovski Optik)

Are you fed up with seeing tiny bird-shapes in the sky, across the lake, or perched in distant treetops, but you cannot identify them? If yes, you are ready to buy a spotting scope. Once you bring your scope into the field with you, those distant birds are magically transformed into Peregrine Falcons, Red-necked Grebes, or Olive- sided Flycatchers. Don’t have a scope? We will discuss the options for buying and using a spotting scope: size and weight, power and zoom choices. Almost as important is picking a tripod. So, we will cover tripod heads and legs, too. The final part will be a quick review on how to document what you see through your scope, using either a Smartphone or DSLR camera.

Colombia: the Birdiest Country on Earth -- It’s All About Location, Location, Location

Giovani Ortiz (Icaro Birding Tours)

Let’s take a journey through the regions, landscapes, and habitats that make Colombia a truly unique world-class birding destination. This small country is home to over 1,900 bird species – that’s 20% of all bird species in 1% of the earth’s land. Our journey will take us to places like the Montezuma Peak, the place with the most endemic species in the Americas and the almighty Santa Marta Mountains along the Caribbean Coast, home to the largest concentration of range-restricted bird species in the world.

Discover Texas, #1 in U.S. for Terrestrial Birding

Keith Hackland (Texas Birding)

Birders from 50 countries around the world and all 50 U.S. states visit Texas and return there many times. Why? Keith’s Space Coast Birding Festival presentation addresses this phenomenon. His talk includes photos and discussion of Texas birds, maps, habitat, birding regions, and recommendations on where and when to bird Texas. There will be time for questions, and an informative handout. Keith chairs Texas Birding, a non-profit organization that promotes Texas as one of the world’s top birding destinations, and he is a loyal member of Texas Ornithological Society. Texas Birding is an exhibitor at the Festival. Keith and other Texans will be available for personal consulting at the Texas Birding exhibit. 

Eco-tourism in Uganda

Judith Mirembe (Bird Uganda Safaris)

The initiation of eco-tourism in Uganda dates back to the early 1990s. Before that, tourism predominantly focused on the economic needs of the central government and the pleasure of tourists. The designation of the Kibale and Bwindi Forests and Rwenzori Mountains as national parks ignited stiff resistance from indigenous communities that depended on forest resources for their livelihoods. Application of eco-tourism principles around Uganda national parks and forest reserves has resulted in better relationships between authorities and local communities and attitudes toward conservation have improved as the same or even more benefits are enjoyed through eco-tourism as opposed to consumption of forest resources. The government too has a new appreciation for conservation and eco-tourism in particular. The tourism sector was highlighted as a fundamental pillar to drive socio-economic transformation in the National Development Plan II and Vison 2040.

In Uganda, eco-tourism centers mainly around national parks, wildlife reserves, Ramsar wetland reserve sites, World Heritage Sites, Biospheres and Important Bird Areas. Gorilla and chimpanzee tracking, birding, game viewing, forest and nature guided walks, mountaineering, rock climbing, canoeing, sport fishing, butterfly watching and cultural performances are key eco-tourism activities done around eco-tourism sites. Eco-tourism is a sustainable form of tourism that can be used to achieve a development agenda at local, national and international levels. Training of local communities in eco-tourism, marketing and financial resource mobilization can unleash great potential, especially in developing countries.

Fourteen Must-Know Tips for Choosing Your Next Nature Photography Workshop or Tour

Lisa Langell (Langell Photography)

Lisa will cover the good, the bad and the disastrous! Learn from insiders about the essential, often little-known tips and secrets, that will help you to protect yourself. You’ll learn the right questions to ask to help ensure you choose the right tour leader, company, locations and time of year for your next adventure. You’ll also learn what to ask before you book your tour so that you will know exactly what you’ll be getting and what’s not included.

Galapagos: Ecuador’s Enchanted Islands

Reinier Munguia (Holbrook Travel)

Some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, life has found a way not only to survive, but to thrive, despite sometimes harsh terrain and precarious environmental conditions. The archipelago is famous among nature and wildlife lovers for its unique inhabitants: giant tortoises, the world’s only ocean-going lizard, curious and endemic Galapagos fur seals, plus iconic birds like the Blue-footed Booby, Flightless Cormorant, Galapagos Penguin, and more than a dozen species of Darwin’s finches, all amidst breathtaking vistas. Join Reinier Munguia, professional photographer and founder of Wildstock Photography, for this informative introduction to the Galapagos. View stunning, finely detailed photos of the islands, their landscapes, and their flora and fauna and learn why these “Enchanted Islands” are like no place else on Earth.

How to Find Owls

Raymond VanBuskirk (BRANT)

Elusive and beautiful, owls are highly sought-after birds on
any serious birder’s life list. Their mysterious nocturnal lifestyle captures our imagination and fuels our desire to find them. For that same reason they are often hard to find and even harder to see — unless you know how to look for them. This workshop is geared not so much at owl ID (although we will definitely cover that, too) as at HOW to find owls. I hope to improve your owling skills to the point where you feel confident to plan and execute a productive owling adventure on your own!

How to Choose the Best Places to Photograph Birds Around the World

Iain Campbell (Tropical Birding)

There are just so many options to bird around the world and take photos, it can be daunting figuring out your best options. The best birding and best bird photography locations are often not the same areas. This talks concentrates on the areas where you can get a very big return on your time depending on the type of photography you want and the gear you have. For example Costa Rica and Ecuador can be better for different types of photographer; a trip to the Amazon is amazing for birders, but you have to modify your expectations depending on your gear. We cover all the continents other than North America in this talk, so expect to learn things like animals vs. birds in Africa and set-ups vs. opportunistic shooting in Asia, eastern or western Australia. This talk is designed to be extremely informative, so bring a note pad and be ready with loads of questions.

KENYA: Understanding Birding and Wildlife in Africa’s Leading Safari Destination

Joseph Mwangi (Nature’s Wonderland Safaris)

There are over 1100 species of birds that have been recorded so far in Kenya. It’s believed to be the highest number in the Africa continent. The reason is due to the topographical nature of the country. Most of these species are found all over the country because the climate doesn’t experience extreme changes. The diversity of plains, dry savannas, lakes, mountains and rich grasslands makes it easy for one to see most of the birds. On the other hand, Kenya is known for its amazing safari destinations. There are over 54 national parks and game reserves. Each has a vast collection of wild animals and includes the most common carnivores and herbivores that one would want to see on a normal safari visit. Kenya is full of wildlife spectacles – here are a few: The annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra in Masai Mara National Reserve during July to October; Huge flocks of flamingos in the alkaline waters of Lake Nakuru; The black rhinos of Nairobi National Park. Joseph will be highlighting all the above in an exciting talk meant to help you to have a clear picture and understand of the birding and wildlife experience in Kenya.

Making Informed Decisions About Gear

Lisa Langell (Langell Photography)

As an increasing number of birders and nature enthusiasts are turning to photography, the choices can be overwhelming for gear and accessories. This session will introduce the main categories of cameras available, as well as the pros and cons of each type of camera–from point-and-shoots, DSLR and mirrorless cameras — and even digiscoping. You’ll learn the basic terminology, key pros-and- cons of each type of camera, and how to determine your needs so that you select what’s right for you. Tips for selecting tripods, tripod heads, and truly helpful accessories will also be provided — all with a practical, budget-minded perspective so that you get what you need without over-buying gadgetry.

Mollymawks and Golden Gooneys

Dave Grant (Shark Research Institute)

In his classic Oceanic Birds of South America, the great ornithologist Robert Cushman Murphy once declared: “I now belong to a higher cult of mortals, for I have seen the Albatross.” These magnificent ocean wanderers captured the imagination of people long before the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and today are important indicators of the health of our oceans. We will meander with them upon southern seas and the Humboldt Current – the haunts of these splendid seabirds – and search out their homes to better appreciate their challenging lifestyles.

Otters of the Indian River Lagoon

Megan Stolen (Hubbs Sea World Research Institute)

There are thirteen species of otters throughout the world. The North American river otter is found throughout Florida, including the Indian River Lagoon. Otters are inquisitive and appear playful but they are also fierce top-level predators. Little is known about their populations in Florida. Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute has launched a new river otter study which includes a citizen science program called “Otter Spotter”. We will present an overview of otters throughout space and time and give you details about becoming an Otter Spotter to help study and conserve this amazing species.

Panama: Biodiversity and Habitats of the Wild West

Jim Kimball (Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge)

From volcano to beach and all points in between, Panama hosts amazing landscapes, different cultures and culinary delights. Its biodiversity is staggering – the country is home to 218 mammal species, 226 species of reptile, 164 amphibian species and 125 animal species found nowhere else in the world. Panama also boasts 996 avian species: the largest number in Central America. Thirteen of those are endemic. In a span of less than 40 miles in western Panama, the Caribbean Slope of the Talamanca Mountain Range plunges 11,000 feet from the high alpine forest of La Amistad National Park into the lowland rainforests bordering the Caribbean Sea. It is here that Jim Kimball and his partners literally hacked their way into the jungle to pioneer a new wildlife destination on Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro, a beautiful archipelago that is lost in time and blessed by nature. In this talk, Jim will cover the best of western Panama’s wildlife reserves, and the history, culture and geography of this fascinating area, as well as travel information to make your Panama trip the best it can be.

Peruvian Endemic Species - Threats and Conservation

Miguel Lezama (Tanager Tours)

Peru is among the birdiest countries in the world with over 1800 species of birds, more than 85% of which are permanent residents. It is home to 107 endemic species — some of which are critically endangered. In this talk, Miguel will cover three of these birds that are vulnerable to extinction. Their hope for survival rests on birding through sustainable tourism. The Scarlet-banded Barbet is a stunningly beautiful bird that represents one of the most dramatic ornithological discoveries of recent years. Found only on an isolated plateau covered in cloud forest in north-central Peru, the population is estimated to number fewer than 1000 individuals. Feared extinct for nearly a century until its dramatic rediscovery in 1977, the White-winged Guan has been the subject of an intensive captive-breeding and conservation campaign. This species is endemic to northwestern Peru, where it occurs in dry deciduous forest on slopes and in ravines. The last species is not endemic however its small range and rapid loss of habitat make it a candidate for complete loss. First photographed in 1990 and scientifically described as a new species in 2007, little is known about the Rufous Twistwing, which is associated with bamboo growing in humid forested regions.

Planning Your Next Birding Adventure – The Secrets of Success in Birding Travel

Wendy Clark (Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures)

Wendy Clark, Rockjumper’s Global Marketing Director, shares ideas and insights on how to successfully select and plan your next birding travel adventure. Birding tour companies offer unique birding tours for every type of birder, but how do you choose the destination and tour that is perfect for you? Whether you’re a birding-travel expert or considering your first-ever international birding trip, Join Wendy and learn more about where to go, what to see, what to do, what to bring, how to prepare, and how to get the biggest “bang for your buck” when planning your next birding expedition!

Seven-Fold Path to Better Birding

Stephen Ingraham (Carl Zeiss Sport Optics)

Note: This is an ideal class to take before any of the Festival’s Beginning Birding activities.

What do good birders know that you don’t know (yet)? Here are seven simple disciplines that will make any birder a better birder and increase your enjoyment of the time you spend in the field. Great for beginners and any birder who wants to improve. Stephen Ingraham, ZEISS Senior Brand Advocate for Birding and Nature, is well known from his years as the editor of the “Tools of the Trade” section in Birding magazine, his frequent articles in the birding magazines, his appearances at birding events around the country and as the founder and editor of Better View Desired and betterviewdesired. com. Bring paper and pen and be ready to take notes.

Southeast Arizona’s “Most Wanted” Birds

Luke Safford (Tucson Audubon)

Elegant Trogon, Red-faced Warbler, Montezuma Quail, Sulphur- bellied Flycatcher…many of us remember the first time we saw one—whether in real life or in the pages of our Sibley or Golden Guide. Join Southeast Arizona Birding Festival coordinator, Luke Safford, as we discuss what makes birding in the Tucson area so amazing and how to go about planning your first (or next) trip to the Sonoran Desert and Sky Islands of Southeast Arizona.

The Battles of Midway

Dave Grant (Shark Research Institute)

Birds, Biologists and Battleships all influenced the history of this isolated patch of sand in the middle of the Pacific. Papahanaumokuakea – the Northwest Pacific Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway Monument – is where dedicated biologists are restoring the home of the famous Gooney birds, and historians are preserving military and Hawaiian cultural artifacts, and veterans are honoring fallen comrades of the greatest naval victory in American history. We will explore Midway in winter and summer to witness the changing environment and its influence on the world’s largest albatross colony, a multitude of other seabirds, endangered seals and turtles, human visitors, and the surrounding reefs.

The Future of Birding – a Birdwatching Paradigm Shift

Gunnar Engblom (Kolibri Expeditions)

The future of birding contains more photo-oriented birding. It will also push the demand for a new form of birdwatching tours. Most birders of tomorrow will not be very interested in long life lists of birds seen, but rather the beauty of the birds photographed. No more: “Try to see as many species as little as possible, to have more time to see even more birds as little as possible, which will result in a VERY long list of birds you have hardly seen at all.” The definition of hard-core birding in the neotropics is not for them. On the other hand, international birdwatching trips of the future are likely to be MUCH shorter and more about bucket list birds, mammals, landmarks and scenic places.

The Learning Projector: Teach Children with Old-Style Slide Photos for Toy Projectors

David Roberts (The Learning Projector)

Computers and phones offer infinite content—one can instantly access photos and information about almost all birds and wildlife from anywhere. This is a great resource, but it can be difficult to focus when there is too much choice—especially for children. Importantly, many parents would prefer alternatives to reduce screen time. The Learning Projector is a new company focused on curating content using old-style slide film to project images using a toy projector. Escape into the calm of a darkened room and enjoy projected images of birds, animals, planets, stars. No phones, no computers, no screens–just your imagination and the wonder of the universe. Subscribers will receive new discs on themes of their choice every month. The three themes include: 1) Birds, 2) Space/NASA, and 3) General.

The Magnificent Behavior of Shorebirds

Brian Zwiebel (Sabrewing Nature Tours)

Join Brian for an exploration into the magnificent behavior of shorebirds. From migration to the breeding grounds and beyond Brian will share his passion for shorebird behavior through his award-winning photography and personal experiences on the breeding grounds of the high Arctic. You will learn of the mind- bending migrations of the Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit and Brian will recount his personal observations of breeding behavior not seen in the scientific literature. Be forewarned, you may never look at a wintering shorebird on a beach or mudflat the same way again!

The Mysterious Cranes of China

Simon Thompson (Ventures Birding Tours)

During the second world war, Axel Hemmingsen, A Danish man stranded in Eastern China after the attack on Pearl Harbor, spent the remaining war years studying the birds and bird migration in this coastal area of Hebei Province. In the 1980’s various groups of birders revisited this spot and produced some amazing sightings 50 years later. I was fortunate to be a member of one of these China Cranewatch expeditions studying cranes, birds
of prey and passerine migration. Come and learn about what I witnessed.

The Best Places to Start Bird Photography in the USA

Iain Campbell (Tropical Birding)

There are a plethora of locations in the country to take your birding to a new level with bird photography. The problem is that while opportunities are numerous, some areas are not forgiving to the beginner, and are better when you gain a little more experience. I will take you through a range of locations where you will get seemingly unlimited chances to make mistakes and learn from them. We will cover the locations, the timing, the best lenses, and how to get there. I will also go through the types of shots you can expect from different kind of gear from basic entry level cameras to the very best setups. We finish the talk with talking about the most challenging, but potentially rewarding sites.

Full disclosure here; I am a bird guide and take people on tours, but this talk is not about plugging tours. I do not run tours to most of the places mentioned, and the information given will be straight down the line.

Upper Texas Gulf Coast Birding

Christina Majdalani (Beaumont Convention and Visitor’s Bureau)

28 Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail sites, all within a 40-mile radius, make Beaumont/Port Arthur your best choice for a southeast Texas birding adventure. Legendary hotspots include High Island, Sea Rim State Park, Sabine Woods, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Big Thicket, and a newly constructed boardwalk and education center at Cattail Marsh. In addition to miles of wild coastal beaches, southeast Texas has more than a dozen lakes and three major river systems, which make it a birdwatcher’s paradise. Nearly 30 species of ducks and flocks of snow geese winter here. Beaumont/Port Arthur’s coastal marshlands are prime territory for wading birds, shorebirds, gulls and cormorants. The piney woods of east Texas also draw songbirds; many varieties of warblers nest here and more than 350 species of birds are spotted annually.

Uganda at a Glance

Judith Mirembe (Bird Uganda Safaris)

Uganda (Winston Churchill’s ‘Pearl of Africa’) is a friendly and green country with breath taking scenery and unforgettable wildlife. Birding, big game viewing, forest and nature guided walks, mountaineering, rock climbing, canoeing, sport fishing, butterfly watching and cultural performances are key activities here. But perhaps the best experience of all is the opportunity for gorilla and chimpanzee tracking. Whether in the rainforests of Uganda and Rwanda, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, or on Rubondo Island in Tanzania, encounters with gorilla or chimpanzee are rare and very precious. A face-to-face encounter with these endangered great apes in their natural habitat is a truly astounding experience. Since 2002, Bird Uganda Safaris has set the bar for offering the most memorable birding and natural history tour experiences in Uganda and the East African region. They are well known for initiating the recruitment and training of Uganda Women Birders. Judith Mirembe is Chair of the Uganda Women Birders Club and a guide for Bird Uganda Safaris.

World Wide Birding from Cruise Ships

Ken Burgener (Carefree Birding)

Learn how and where to bird from a cruise ship. We will discuss the best options for seeing the local birds while enjoying all the comforts of a cruise. You will learn how to save money and where to find information about local birds. Short videos and pictures will help you understand this unique way to travel and bird in foreign lands. You’ll get tips on how to prepare for your trip and how to navigate the terrain of the country you are in.

Environmentally Endangered Lands Program: Preserving Brevard for 27 Years

Mike Knight, Program Manager for Brevard County EEL Program

The Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program was created by Brevard County voters in 1990 for purpose of preserving and managing environmentally sensitive lands for the long-term preservation of biodiversity for future generations to enjoy. An important component of the program is to provide opportunities for passive recreation and environmental education to Brevard residents and visitors. A network of over 27,000 acres of conservation lands and over 65 miles of recreational trails provide a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities including birding. The presentation will summarize the conservation accomplishments of the program over the last 27 years and highlight some of the hidden gem locations that exist within the Nature Sanctuary networks in Brevard County.

Photography Classes and Workshops

Focus Frog Store
Hummingbirds of Costa Rica

Photographing Hummingbirds of Costa Rica is a long-term, joint project for Chuck and Cindy. The numerous logistic and technical challenges have made it particularly exciting, but the special reward is in the power of the resulting images. Their techniques capture an instant of time that not only shows minute details of the birds but also reveals their exquisite colors. Hummingbirds everywhere face threats due to loss of habitat. Their goal for this project is to enhance awareness both internationally and within Costa Rica of these flying treasures by means of unique hummingbird-based artwork that reveals their extraordinary beauty. They hope to stimulate the political will and gather the international support that will ensure a bright hummingbird future.

High Speed Hummingbird Photography

Jan. 25, 1:00pm-2:30pm; 1-114; $35

Jan. 26, 10:45am-12:15pm; 4-123; $35

Hummingbirds were one of the first applications for high speed photography. Cindy and Chuck will discuss the history of high speed photography and how it applies to hummingbird photography. They will share their methods for getting good images with minimal equipment, including some of the concepts that are the foundation of multiple flash high speed photography. Those basic techniques can improve a photographer’s work no matter what equipment is used.

Bear Woods Photography

Sponsored by Tamron
Stop by the Tamron booth to check out the latest camera products to try out in the field.

David resides in the mountains of North Georgia with his wife Evelyn. Early in his career David traveled with, learned from and taught beside some of the masters of nature photography including John Shaw, Art Wolfe, Galen Rowell, Bryan Peterson, Pat O’Hara, and Rod Planck. David has been teaching photography in the classroom and leading workshops around the United States since 1994. His photographs and articles have appeared in publications such as Nature Photographer, Audubon Magazine, Blue Ridge Country, Birder’s World, Outdoor Photographer, Backpacker Magazine, and many local publications. David is a Tamron Image Master as well as being designated as a Sirui Professional.

Indoor Classrooms

Building a Bird Environment in Your Backyard

Jan. 25, 10:45am-12:15pm; 4-119; $35

We all want to enjoy observing and photographing birds close to home. In this course, David will discuss how he has successfully transformed his yard from getting less than 10 species a day to an average of more than 20, including over 20 varieties of warblers. He will discuss how to set up natural plants and supplementing the area with small feeders when needed. For the photographer, David will discuss placement of posts and perches that will allow you to capture incredible bird images without leaving your porch or home. All of this can be done with little or no investment as well!

Landscape Photography

Jan. 24, 10:45am-12:15pm; 4-119; $35

In this course David will discuss preparing for and successfully capturing landscape images. For over 25 years David has travelled as a professional nature photographer to many of the nation’s iconic locations. He will share the planning process as well as how to pack the right gear. He will discuss camera settings and compositional tips. David will share some of his favorite images that will hopefully inspire you to book a trip soon!

Painting a Photograph

Jan. 23; 10:45am-12:15pm; 4-119; $35

Jan. 26; 10:45am-12:15pm; 4-119; $35

In this course David will discuss how he, as a classically trained illustrator, put down his pencils and brushes and started photography. What makes this unique is his approach to photography through the eyes of an illustrator. David will discuss the paint we use as photographers, which is light, as well as the brush strokes we have, which are shutter speeds. David will discuss “why” we have simple rules like the “rule of thirds” and why they should be followed and broken. David will also discuss the effects camera lenses can have on composition in photography. This course also will help you for those “when God gives us lemons, make lemonade” scenarios. Come be inspired to think outside of the box on your next photography outing.

Outdoor Workshops

Bird Photography at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Jan. 23, 6:30am-9:30am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60
Jan. 24; 6:30am-9:30am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60
Jan. 24; 3:30pm-6:30pm; Limit 12 Registrants; $60
Jan. 25, 3:30pm-6:30pm; Limit 12 Registrants; $60

Meet at the north side of the Parrish Park boat ramp parking lot.

In this course David will demonstrate proper settings on the camera for photographing birds, both stationary and in flight. Learn the best modes of the camera to use to maximize the number of “keeper” photographs. Birds in flight are thought of as very difficult, but with a few simple tips, photographing them becomes much easier and can actually be enjoyable! David will teach you how to incorporate birds and wildlife into environmental portraits. Showing the area as well as the animal will often give an image a more pleasing look. With environmental portraits in mind, David will discuss and demonstrate the best compositions to make the scene more pleasing. Depending on whether the class is early or late, we will also work to incorporate wildlife into a sunrise or sunset.

Bird Photography at Orlando Wetlands Park

Jan. 23, 3:30pm-6:30pm; Limit 12 Registrants; $60
Jan. 26; 6:30am-9:30am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60
Jan. 27; 6:30am-9:30am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60

Meet at the Orlando Wetlands Park parking area.

In this course David will demonstrate proper settings on the camera for photographing birds, both stationary and in flight. Learn the best modes of the camera to use to maximize the number of “keeper” photographs. Birds in flight are thought of as very difficult, but with a few simple tips, photographing them becomes much easier and can actually be enjoyable! David will teach you how to incorporate birds and wildlife into environmental portraits. Showing the area as well as the animal will often give an image a more pleasing look. With environmental portraits in mind, David will discuss and demonstrate the best compositions to make the scene more pleasing. Depending on whether the class is early or late, we will also work to incorporate wildlife into a sunrise or sunset.

Bird Photography at Viera Wetlands

Jan. 25; 6:30am-9:30am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60
Jan. 26; 3:30pm-6:30pm; Limit 12 Registrants; $60

Meet at the Viera Wetlands parking area.

In this course David will demonstrate proper settings on the camera for photographing birds, both stationary and in flight. Learn the best modes of the camera to use to maximize the number of “keeper” photographs. Birds in flight are thought of as very difficult, but with a few simple tips, photographing them becomes much easier and can actually be enjoyable! David will teach you how to incorporate birds and wildlife into environmental portraits. Showing the area as well as the animal will often give an image a more pleasing look. With environmental portraits in mind, David will discuss and demonstrate the best compositions to make the scene more pleasing. Depending on whether the class is early or late, we will also work to incorporate wildlife into a sunrise or sunset.

Langell Photography
Sponsored by Tamron
Stop by the Tamron booth to check out the latest camera products to try out in the field.

“For me, it’s not just about the photos. It’s about creating shared experiences.”
Originally from Michigan, Lisa lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has “done” a lot of things to make an enjoyable living — from managing a pizzeria, to working as a master floral designer, a licensed psychologist, an international speaker, professional trainer and consultant in K-12 education, Chief Business Development Officer for an education technology company, a researcher, a writer, an artist and even a recruiter! She began her photography business in 2010. Though photography was always a favorite activity for her,

it wasn’t until she combined photography with teaching and tour guiding that it all came together: Creating one-of-a-kind, exciting, emotionally rewarding learning experiences for others! Lisa is passionate about providing creative, memorable and educational experiences that enrich, invigorate and expand minds emotionally and cognitively — all while having fun together!

Indoor Classrooms

Art of Composition: Nature, Photography and Negative Space

Jan. 26, 3:00pm-4:30pm; 1-114; $35

Elevate your photography to new levels as you expand your technique. This fun, upbeat and inspiring class has something to offer just about anyone with a camera! Whether or not you have “long lenses,” this class will provide you inspiration to infuse art within your bird photography and expand your senses beyond just “tight, close-up shots!” Focusing on key elements of composition, with an emphasis on using positive and negative space, this seminar will teach you how to create images that are emotionally infused and leave lasting impressions with your audience.

Getting Started with Bird Photography

Jan. 26, 10:45am-12:15pm; 4-121; $35

Do you wish you could “move the dial off of Auto” but feel overwhelmed with all the settings and options? This class is perfect for the birder / photographer who is newer to photography and ready to take a step forward, but doesn’t want photography to feel overly complicated. This class will start you out with the how’s and why’s of using two simple-to-use settings that take you off “Auto” and improve your bird-photo success rate without leaving you frustrated and confused. You will also learn several simple techniques that will improve your images and make you a happier photographer in the process! (Best for those with Mirrorless or DSLR camera systems.)

Shooting the Darkside

Jan. 23, 10:45am-12:15pm; 4-121; $35
Jan. 24, 10:45am-12:15pm; 4-123; $35

A well-photographed image of wildlife in silhouette can often elicit as much or more emotion from your audience than images of most well-lit subjects. Learn how to maximize your shooting day, add diversity to your portfolio, and create powerful emotion with your photography through silhouette, back-lit and rim-lit photography. This fun, creatively enriching session will cover what subjects work best in these lighting conditions, settings
for silhouette photography, and how to utilize this special light. Discover the beauty as you learn technical mastery to shoot “on the darkside.”

Outdoor Workshops

A Flight to Remember at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Jan. 26, 6:30am-9:30am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60
Jan. 27, 6:30am-9:30am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60

Meet at the north side of the Parrish Park boat ramp parking lot.

Photographing birds in flight and motion can be challenging for even the most experienced photographers. Via warm, friendly and supportive instruction, Lisa will show you skills that include focus settings (AF-C or AI Servo), setting the proper focus point, finding the best aperture and shutter speed settings for photographing birds in motion and finding the bird in the frame before you can photograph it. She will give personal attention and determine what settings and techniques work best for you. Lisa will also teach composition, panning, and related techniques for artistic effect and how to envision the design, look, and feel of your image prior to shooting. This hands-on, in-the-field workshop is designed for those with DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

A Flight to Remember at Orlando Wetlands Park

Jan. 23, 6:30am-9:30am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60

Meet at the Orlando Wetlands Park parking area.

Photographing birds in flight and motion can be challenging for even the most experienced photographers. Via warm, friendly and supportive instruction, Lisa will show you skills that include focus settings (AF-C or AI Servo), setting the proper focus point, finding the best aperture and shutter speed settings for photographing birds in motion and finding the bird in the frame before you can photograph it. She will give personal attention and determine what settings and techniques work best for you. Lisa will also teach composition, panning, and related techniques for artistic effect and how to envision the design, look, and feel of your image prior to shooting. This hands-on, in-the-field workshop is designed for those with DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

A Flight to Remember at Viera Wetlands

Jan. 24, 6:30am-9:30am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60

Meet at the Viera Wetlands parking area.

Photographing birds in flight and motion can be challenging for even the most experienced photographers. Via warm, friendly and supportive instruction, Lisa will show you skills that include focus settings (AF-C or AI Servo), setting the proper focus point, finding the best aperture and shutter speed settings for photographing birds in motion and finding the bird in the frame before you can photograph it. She will give personal attention and determine what settings and techniques work best for you. Lisa will also teach composition, panning, and related techniques for artistic effect and how to envision the design, look, and feel of your image prior to shooting. This hands-on, in-the-field workshop is designed for those with DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

Afternoon, Sunset, Silhouettes and the Darkside

Jan. 23, 3:30pm-6:30pm; Limit 12 Registrants; $60
Jan. 24, 3:30pm-6:30pm; Limit 12 Registrants; $60

Meet at the Viera Wetlands parking area

Viera Wetlands is a mecca for nature photographers. Amateurs and professionals enjoy the wide diversity and availability of wildlife found in the wetlands, especially waterfowl, long-legged waders, raptors and alligators. Spend a productive afternoon photographing birds and wildlife. Then at sunset and twilight take the opportunity to put to use what you learned in the Darkside class. Learn how to create powerful emotion with your photography through silhouette, back-lit and rim-lit photography.

Photographing Birds of Prey

Jan. 25, 9:00am-11:00am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60

Meet at the Florida Wildlife Hospital, 4560 North U.S. Highway 1, Palm Shores FL, 32935 (Just south of the big red cross).

This popular field workshop will provide extraordinary access to photo opportunities that are rarely available in the wild. FWH will provide a variety of beautiful native Florida raptors that include Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Red-shouldered Hawk and American Kestrel. These beautiful birds will be perched on native perches, thus providing perfect conditions to produce amazing, intimate images of these fantastic birds. Lisa will share tips on the best camera settings, depth of field choices, lighting angles, perspective and background selection and answer any other questions you might have.
Sponsored by Hunt’s Photo and Video
Stop by the Hunt’s booth for the best prices on the newest camera and video products.

Maresa is a life-long resident of Florida. She studied photography at Daytona State College. She specializes in wildlife behavior, and knows her subjects well. As a long-time birder, her compassion shows in her work, winning numerous awards for her fine art photography. Her images have appeared in Audubon, Living Bird, Mother Earth News, National Geographic Kids & Book Series, National Wildlife, Outdoor Photographer, Ranger Rick, and other periodicals. Maresa is a founding member of the North American Nature Photographers Association, a former board member of the Sarasota Audubon Society, and the American Society of Media Photographers of Central Florida.

Indoor Classrooms

Basic Camera Settings for Bird Photography

Jan. 25, 10:45am-12:15 pm; Room 4-123; $35

Maresa will give a presentation on how to get sharp beautiful images with your camera. She will explain the differences in full-frame sensors vs. cropped, and how that affects the quality of the image, as well as using your histogram for proper exposure, ISO settings, depth of field, proper shutter speeds for effect, composition, and more. Additionally, she will touch on field technique and etiquette. Whether you’re a beginner or in need of a refresher course, Maresa will head you in the right direction to getting higher quality images and enjoying your experience in the field. For the last 45 minutes, Maresa will be happy to review your image(s). Bring 1-2 images on a thumbnail.

How to Set Up Your Backyard for Photography

Jan. 26, 1:00pm-2:30pm; Room 1-114; $35

Preserving wildlife starts right in your backyard. It doesn’t matter how large or small your property is, by just providing 3 important factors, the wildlife will come. Maresa will give a presentation on what she has done with her property. By building a sustainable habitat, she now enjoys more than 13 nesting birds, butterflies, amphibians, and yes, reptiles. Additionally, she will explain the different uses for flash photography and will have available different units to look, including: Macro flash, ring light, and a hot shoe flash w/ MagBeam attachment made for telephoto flash photography. She will demonstrate the different uses in each unit and what will work best for your photography, giving tips for setting up your exposures, lighting, and so on.

Outdoor Workshops

Bird Photography 101 – Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

Jan. 25, 6:30am-9:30am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60

Meet at the north side of the Parrish Park Boat Ramp parking lot.

Each workshop will focus on basic to intermediate settings for bird photography. Maresa will work with you one-on-one to show you ISO, shutter speeds, apertures and explain the importance of each setting. We will look at getting proper exposures and when to compensate in order to achieve the best results. Observing bird behavior and watching your backgrounds will be key to getting the best photograph. For the best results on all of these settings, Maresa recommends a 300mm or longer lens, monopod, or tripod for lower light situations.

Watch Your Backgrounds – Viera Wetlands

Jan. 25, 3:30pm-6:30pm; Limit 12 Registrants; $60

Meet at the Viera Wetlands parking area.

Each workshop will focus on basic to intermediate settings for bird photography. Maresa will work with you one-on-one to show you ISO, shutter speeds, apertures and explain the importance of each setting. We will look at getting proper exposures and when to compensate in order to achieve the best results. Observing bird behavior and watching your backgrounds will be key to getting the best photograph. For the best results on all of these settings, Maresa recommends a 300mm or longer lens, monopod, or tripod for lower light situations.

Bird Behavior – Orlando Wetlands

Jan. 26, 6:30am-9:30am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60

Meet at the Orlando Wetlands Park parking area.

Each workshop will focus on basic to intermediate settings for bird photography. Maresa will work with you one-on-one to show you ISO, shutter speeds, apertures and explain the importance of each setting. We will look at getting proper exposures and when to compensate in order to achieve the best results. Observing bird behavior and watching your backgrounds will be key to getting the best photograph. For the best results on all of these settings, Maresa recommends a 300mm or longer lens, monopod, or tripod for lower light situations.

Roy Thoman Photography

Roy has been the SCBWF photographer for many years. In fact, you may have seen him following you around on field trips taking your picture! If not, you have definitely seen his photos in the festival booklet and website. An avid photographer for over 35 years, Roy has loved photography since he was a young boy. His favorite subjects include landscapes and abstract fine art photography. Light is the key to any great photo and Roy likes to use unusual lighting conditions to create beautiful images.

Indoor Classrooms

Introduction to Post-Processing

Jan. 24, 1:00pm-2:30pm; 1-114; $35

I didn’t care for the new cloud-based Photoshop, also PS has
always been expensive! So, I found an alternative program to PS: ON1 Photo RAW. Using ON1, I will demonstrate my workflow for post-processing my photos. I will do an overview of ON1 and a basic enhancement of sharpening, highlights, shadows etc. needed for most images. I will also do a more involved enhancement using masking and B&W conversion. This classroom presentation will be great for photographers who have done little or no post- processing, as well as Photoshop users who like me, are looking
for an alternative program. I am not affiliated with ON1, it’s just what I’m using right now. Other programs use similar tools and techniques, this class should give you a feel for post-processing in any program.

Outdoor Workshops

Nighttime Photography at the A. Max Brewer Bridge

Jan. 24 & 25, 5:15pm-8:00pm Limited to 12 registrants; $60

Meet at the north side of the Parrish Park boat ramp parking lot.

Take a walk on the dark side to explore the wonderful world of Nighttime Photography. This hands-on workshop emphasizes tips, techniques, ISO, shutter speed, aperture settings and using composition to create beautiful nighttime photographs. Starting with sunset photos, we will then photograph various areas around the bridge and the fishing pier as darkness descends. Underwater lights utilized by fishermen are a highlight in this hot spot for fishing and shrimping. With a beautifully lit bridge and plenty of activities to photograph, we should get very striking photos. Open to all skill levels; individual attention will be provided to each participant. Bring any camera that’s capable of manual settings and a tripod. A cable release is preferable; a self-timer on your camera will suffice. Bring extra camera batteries and a flashlight. Prepare for very cold and windy conditions!

Sabrewing Nature Tours

Brian began his journey with birds by enrolling in an Ornithology class at Hocking College in 1993. Six years later he began photographing the subjects he had come to know so well. Warblers are among Brian’s favorite subjects. He spends much of his free time in May photographing warblers at northern Ohio’s Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. His work has been prominently displayed in exhibits throughout Ohio and more than thirty of his songbird images were featured at the National Center for Nature Photography in Toledo, OH. Brian’s award-winning photography has been internationally published in books and magazines including Birder’s World, Bird Watching, Bird Watcher’s Digest and the American Birding Association’s magazine Birding.

Indoor Classrooms

Waterfowl Photography (From the Duck’s Eye View)

Jan. 23, 1:00pm-2:30pm; 1-113; $35
Jan. 26, 10:45am-12:15pm; 4-123; $35

What does it take to make stunning duck portraits? How can you best capture action and behavior in your waterfowl photography? The slide program “From the Duck’s Eye View”, presented by Brian Zwiebel, will teach you this and more with each talking point supported by Brian’s award-winning photography.

Outdoor Workshops

Waterfowl Photography (From the Duck’s Eye View)

Jan. 24, 7:00am-10:00am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60
Jan. 27, 7:00am-10:00am; Limit 12 Registrants; $60

Meet at the north side of the Parrish Park boat ramp parking lot. The following morning you will put what you learned in class to the test as Brian leads the group to photograph ducks and other birds we encounter. Bring your camera, fresh batteries and flash cards along with your longest telephoto lens for this fun filled outing.

Point & Shoot Nature Photographer

Introducing Point and Shoot Nature Photography: Birds and Wildlife, Macro and Landscape

Jan. 24, 10:45am-12:15pm; 4-121; Limit 20 Registrants; $15

Serious nature photography is no longer the sole domain of the well-equipped DSLR photographer. As thousands of photographers have discovered over the past few years, today’s long zoom Point and Shoot digital cameras, in the hands of a thoughtful and creative photographer, are capable of amazingly satisfying images of everything from birds and wildlife, to macros of wildflowers and insects, to grand landscapes and sweeping panoramas under dramatic skies…all in a relatively small, compact, and inexpensive package. This workshop provides a basic introduction to the cameras (including how to choose the best one for your needs) and techniques that put nature photography within the reach of anyone with the desire to share what they appreciate in the natural world. Part inspiration and part instruction, it will change the way you look at nature photography…and convince you that it is indeed possible to be a “real” nature photographer with a Point & Shoot camera.

Field Techniques for P&S Nature Photography

Jan. 25, 9:00am-10:30am; Limit 10 Registrants; $15

Meet at the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

We will spend time in the field exploring the basic camera settings and important attitudes for bird, wildlife, macro, and landscape photography with a Point and Shoot camera. The camera is going to do most of the hard work, but you do need to know how to point it in the right direction… both in its basic setup (menus etc.) and in a more literal sense of what to take pictures of, and how those choices determine what you ask the camera to do. This workshop should build your confidence in both the camera’s and your own abilities. Bring whatever camera you have and we will share.

Advanced and Specialized Modes for P&S Nature Photography

Jan. 26, 8:00am-9:30am; Limit 10 Registrants; $15

Meet at the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

There is way more to your P&S superzoom than immediately meets the eye. HDR for dramatic landscapes. Sweep panorama. Hand- held night scene mode. Sports mode for action and birds in flight. Macro mode or macro settings. Creative Syles. Etc. Expand your understanding of your camera and your vision!

P&S Nature Photography Field Workshop at Viera Wetlands

Jan. 27, 8:00am-12:00pm; Limit 12 Registrants; $15

Meet at the Viera Wetlands parking lot.

This is an opportunity to get out and take pictures with your Point & Shoot camera in a supportive, nurturing atmosphere… and a beautiful spot with opportunities for birds, wildlife, butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, land and waterscapes.

Panasonic Lumix Luminary Team
Stop by the Panasonic booth to check out the latest camera products to try out in the field.

Composition: The Instrument of Photographic Communication

Jan. 1:00pm-2:30pm; 1-113; $15

The ability to communicate your message is crucial in photography. Organizing the elements into a strong and compelling composition and then exposing are the primary components of this program presented by Panasonic’s pro, Shiv Verma. The advent of digital equipment allows for instant feedback, but it is you, the maker, who needs to use this vehicle of instant feedback to improve and strengthen the message. Furthermore, software-based editing tools allow you to refine and enhance the design elements even after
the camera has exposed and the message captured-conveyed. The digital medium allows us to communicate in ways that would have been too complex or virtually impossible in the analog capture.

Nature Story: How to Capture Great Bird Images Using Mirrorless Cameras

Jan. 25; 7:00am-10:00am; Limit 12 Registrants; $15

Meet at the north side of the Parrish Park boat ramp parking lot. The camera technology of the last several years has made wildlife, birds and birds in flight photography easier than it was before. New DSLR cameras have made action photography much easier than it was when manual focus was the rule rather than the exception. Now Mirrorless Camera technology allows these light and nimble camera systems to enter the realm of nature, wildlife and action photography. Join Panasonic’s photography pro, Shiv Verma, as he presents this field workshop program and addresses the various features of Mirrorless Cameras and how to set them up to obtain images that are at par with the best of DSLRs. You will learn how to obtain tack sharp images, exposure, auto focus modes, manual focus, flight shot techniques, hand-held and using a tripod with an appropriate lens mount, panning techniques and much more.

Field Services Manager, Tamron USA, Inc.
Ken Hubbard Photography
Stop by the Tamron booth to check out the latest camera products to try out in the field.

From Birds to Butterflies: Capturing Great Nature Images

Jan. 25, 10:45am-12:15pm; 4-121; $15

Join Ken Hubbard as he presents this informative and fun seminar on capturing great nature images! Whether you enjoy photographing small bugs and butterflies, larger mammals such as whales, or even birds in flight, this seminar is for you. Ken will go over many techniques that will help you capture the images you want, plus he will also cover subjects such as camera settings, composition and looking for that good light.

Capturing Birds and Wildlife in their Habitat

Jan. 26, 6:30am-9:30am; Limit 12 Registrants; $15

Meet at the north side of the Parrish Park boat ramp parking lot.

Take all you know and have learned about wildlife photography into the field to capture some amazing images. Whether it is a bird in flight hovering over its prey or wading in the flats during early morning light, Join Ken Hubbard as he searches for some great images. From correct camera setting to good composition, Ken will also be giving hands on instruction and guidance to help you capture the images you are looking for.

Swarovski Optik
Naturalist Market Manager

Digiscoping Field Workshop

Jan. 25, 8:00am-11:00am; Limit 12 Registrants; $15

Meet at the north side of the Parrish Park boat ramp parking lot.

This field workshop serves as a “how-to” for new Digiscopers
and those interested in starting Digiscoping as well as refining techniques for current Digiscopers. Participants should bring their scopes, tripods, cameras and adapters. We will cover the basics of field shooting with emphasis on hands-on instruction.

Robert Wilson Photography
Field Representative for Kowa U.S.

Digiscoping: Just Another Tool in the Photographer’s Bag

Jan. 24, 8:00am-11:00am; Limit 12 Registrants; $15

Meet at the north side of the Parrish Park boat ramp parking lot.

While Robert Wilson has used conventional equipment for more than 40 years as a professional photographer, digiscoping is his new passion. Digiscoping is achieved by attaching cameras and now cell phones to spotting scopes for focal lengths of 1000mm – 3000mm in order to capture photos and videos of birds and wildlife. Join Robert to pick up simple tips and tricks to advance your photography skills. Learn how to get more use out of your scope for birding by attaching your cell phone. Robert Wilson is a 30-year (now retired) staff photographer for Lockheed Martin. He is now the Kowa Sporting Optics U.S. Brand Ambassador.

Important Information:
During the Festival, the sun will rise around 7:15am, so please be at your meet-up spots at the time indicated in the activity descriptions. Early meet-up is requested for sunrise to allow time to go over some basic instructions and be at the workshop locations as the golden hour approaches. Light is best starting 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 hours before sunrise so you want to be there to capture it. Instructors will not wait for those who are late. The sun will set around 6:00pm. Though not required, car pools are recommended and will be set up at the meet-up spots. Bring water, snacks, sun protection, biting bug protection, wear warm clothes and waterproof shoes. Directions to meet-up spots will be posted on the festival web site. The $15 charge for the activities conducted by industry representatives is an administrative fee. Please note that some photography activities have the same or similar names. Make sure that you sign up for the correct photographer when you register.


321 268 5224

Eastern Florida State College, Titusville, Florida

Adjacent to Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
and near the Canaveral National Seashore and Kennedy Space Center

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