Field Trips

Highlighting the best birding areas in East Central Florida

The festival field trips have been chosen to highlight the best birding areas in East Central Florida. As usual, the field trips will be staffed by some of the world’s finest birding guides, most of whom have not yet been assigned. A list of leaders and their affiliates will be available on the web site after Thanksgiving. Lists of the birds seen on 2018 field trips as well as the master list of the 186 birds seen for the entire 2018 festival will also be available on the web site. Please make sure that you fill up your water bottles before leaving on a field trip and bring them with you. Dress warmly in layers and wear closed-toed shoes. Find directions to meet-up spots here. 

Items with a flame icon are our most popular field trips and sell out quickly!

Items with a binocular  icon are recommended for beginning birders.

Note: The Brevard County Landfill is NOT open for the members of the public. Members of the general public who are not part of official Birding Festival Landfill visits should follow these procedures: (1) Check in at the scale-house at the main entrance and sign in as a bird watcher; (2) Receive a dashboard placard, safety vest, and birding map/rules; (3) Place the dashboard placard on your dashboard, wear the vest when outside of your vehicle, and adhere to the rules; (4) Check out at the scale-house when leaving and return all items.

Field Trips at a Glance

January 22, 2020
Trips are listed in chronological order. Trips on the water are in blue and EEL trips are in green. View trip descriptions below.

 

TM Goodwin WMA 5:00 AM-3:00 PM, Maximum size: 21, Price: $105.00

 

Lake Apopka Northshore 5:00 AM-4:00 PM, Maximum size: 21, Price: $ 115.00

 

Tosohatchee WMA 6:15 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 18, Price: $ 40.00

 

Viera Wetlands 6:30 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 21, Price: $ 65.00

 

River to the Sea Rundown 6:30 AM-3:30 PM, Maximum size: 24, Price: $ 85.00

 

Turkey Creek Tract 6:45 AM-11:00 AM, Maximum size: 8, Price: $ 60.00

 

Birding and Casual Photography 7:30 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 10, Price: $ 60.00

 

Offshore Birding and Wildlife Adventure 7:30 AM-5:00 PM, Maximum size: 71, Price: $195.00

 

Beginning Birding at MINWR 8:00 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 12, Price: $ 30.00

 

Wildflowers and Plants 8:45 AM-3:30 PM, Maximum size: 16, Price: $ 20.00

 

Airboat Birding Along the St Johns River 10:00 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 5, Price: $90.00

 

Airboat Birding Along the St Johns River 12:00 PM-1:30 AM, Maximum size: 5, Price: $90.00

 

Chain of Lakes Bird Walk 1:30 PM-3:30 PM, Maximum size: 10, Price: $ 20.00

 

Blue Dolphin Birding and Wildlife Boat Tour 2:00 PM-4:30 PM, Maximum size: 47, Price: $ 35.00

 

Black Rails at St Johns NWR 4:00 PM-7:00 PM, Maximum size: 14, Price: $ 60.00

January 23, 2020
Trips are listed in chronological order. Trips on the water are in blue and EEL trips are in green. View trip descriptions below.

 

Ocala National Forest Woodpecker Hunt 4:30 AM-12:00 PM, Maximum size: 18, Price: $ 95.00

 

Central FL Specialties 5:00 AM-4:00 PM, Maximum size: 30, Price: $ 115.00

 

Lake Apopka Northshore 5:00 AM-4:00 PM, Maximum size: 21, Price: $ 115.00

 

Tosohatchee WMA 6:15 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 18, Price: $ 40.00

 

Shilohs, Sharptails and Marsh Birds 6:15 AM-11:00 AM, Maximum size: 18, Price: $ 60.00

 

Kayak Birding at Mullethead Island Rookery 6:30 AM-8:30 AM, Maximum size: 8, Price: $70.00

 

Salt Lake Wildlife Management Area 6:45 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 26, Price: $ 20.00

 

Manatees of Blue Spring 7:15 AM-2:15 PM, Maximum size: 32, Price: $ 110.00

 

Birding by Ear 7:30 AM-9:30 AM, Maximum size: 16, Price: $ 15.00

 

How to Bird Like the Experts 7:30 AM-12:00 PM, Maximum size: 12, Price: $ 60.00

 

Cruickshank Sanctuary’s FL Scrub-Jays 8:30 AM-10:30 AM, Maximum size: 20, Price: $ 15.00

 

Scottsmoor Flatwoods Trailer Tour 9:00 AM-11:00 AM, Maximum size: 16, Price: $ 15.00

 

Florida Wildlife Hospital Tour 9:00 AM-11:00 AM, Maximum size: 20, Price: $ 15.00

 

Barrier Island Center and Pelican Island Fly-In 9:30 AM-7:30 PM, Maximum size: 32, Price: $ 125.00

 

Chain of Lakes Bird Walk 1:30 PM-3:30 PM, Maximum size: 10, Price: $ 20.00

 

Blue Dolphin Birding and Wildlife Boat Tour 2:00 PM-4:30 PM, Maximum size: 47, Price: $ 35.00

 

Historic Pritchard House 2:30 PM-4:30 PM, Maximum size: 16, Price: $ 15.00

 

Gull Fly-In at Daytona Beach Shores 3:30 PM-6:00 PM, Maximum size: 25, Price: $ 45.00

 

Black Rails at St Johns NWR 4:00 PM-7:00 PM, Maximum size: 14, Price: $ 60.00

 

Kayak Birding at Mullethead Island Rookery 4:30 PM-6:30 PM, Maximum size: 8, Price: $70.00

 

Owls of Florida at Sams House  6:00 PM-8:30 PM, Maximum size: 20, Price: $ 15.00

January 24, 2020
Trips are listed in chronological order. Trips on the water are in blue and EEL trips are in green. View trip descriptions below.

 

Central FL Specialties 5:00 AM-4:00 PM, Maximum size: 30, Price: $ 115.00

 

TM Goodwin WMA 5:00 AM-3:00 PM, Maximum size: 21, Price: $105.00

 

Tosohatchee WMA 6:15 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 18, Price: $ 40.00

 

Shilohs, Sharp-tails and Marsh Birds 6:15 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 18, Price: $ 60.00

 

River to the Sea Rundown 6:30 AM-3:30 PM, Maximum size: 24, Price: $ 85.00

 

Turkey Creek Tract 6:45 AM-11:00 AM, Maximum size: 8, Price: $ 60.00

 

Salt Lake Wildlife Management Area 6:45 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 26, Price: $ 20.00

 

Orlando Wetlands Park Tram Tour 7:00 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 9, Price: $ 65.00

 

Beginning Birding at MINWR 8:00 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 12, Price: $ 30.00

 

Drawn to Nature Class & Walk 8:00 AM-11:30 AM

 

FL Scrub-Jay and Fire Ecology 8:30 AM-12:30 PM, Maximum size: 40, Price: $ 15.00

 

South Lake Conservation Area 9:00 AM-10:30 AM, Maximum size: 20, Price: $ 15.00

 

Shorebirds of the Carr Refuge 9:30 AM-11:00 AM, Maximum size: 15, Price: $ 15.00

 

Barrier Island Center and Pelican Island 9:30 AM-7:30 PM, Maximum size: 32, Price: $ 125.00

 

Wildflowers and Plants 9:45 AM-4:30 PM, Maximum size: 16, Price: $ 20.00

 

Airboat Birding Along the St Johns River 10:00 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 5, Price: $90.00

 

Airboat Birding Along the St Johns River 12:00 PM-1:30 PM, Maximum size: 5, Price: $90.00

 

Chain of Lakes Bird Walk 1:30 PM-3:30 PM, Maximum size: 10, Price: $ 20.00

 

Blue Dolphin Birding and Wildlife Boat Tour 2:00 PM-4:30 PM, Maximum size: 47, Price: $ 35.00

 

Historic Pritchard House 2:30 PM-4:30 PM, Maximum size: 16, Price: $ 15.00

 

Gull Fly-In at Daytona Beach Shores 3:30 PM-6:00 PM, Maximum size: 25, Price: $ 45.00

 

Owls of Florida at Sams House 6:00 PM-8:30 PM, Maximum size: 20, Price: $ 15.00

January 25, 2020
Trips are listed in chronological order. Trips on the water are in blue and EEL trips are in green. View trip descriptions below.

 

St Sebastian River Preserve SP 4:30 AM-12:00 PM, Maximum size: 16, Price: $ 80.00

 

Lake Woodruff NWR 5:00 AM-12:30 PM, Maximum size: 21, Price: $ 80.00

 

Viera Wetlands 6:30 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 21, Price: $ 65.00

 

River to the Sea Rundown 6:30 AM-3:30 PM, Maximum size: 24, Price: $ 85.00

 

Kayak Birding at Mullethead Island Rookery 6:30 AM-8:30 AM, Maximum size: 8, Price: $70.00

 

Orlando Wetlands Park Tram Tour 7:00 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 18, Price: $ 65.00

 

A Drive at Blue Heron 7:20 AM-10:30 AM, Maximum size: 16, Price: $ 35.00

 

Birding and Casual Photography 7:30 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 10, Price: $ 60.00

 

Gulls & More at Jetty Park 7:30 AM-11:00 AM, Maximum size: 18, Price: $ 30.00

 

Smyrna Dunes Park 8:00 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 24, Price: $ 35.00

 

Historic Sites of Canaveral National Seashore 8:30 AM-4:30 PM, Maximum size: 12, Price: $ 80.00

 

FL Scrub-Jay and Fire Ecology 8:30 AM-12:30 PM, Maximum size: 40, Price: $ 15.00

 

Watson Trail at the Great Outdoors 9:00 AM-12:00 PM, Maximum size: 14, Price: $ 25.00

 

South Pine Flatwoods Hike 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, Maximum size: 20, Price: $ 15.00

 

Chain of Lakes Bird Walk 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, Maximum size: 10, Price: $ 20.00

 

Blue Dolphin Birding and Wildlife Boat Tour 2:00 PM-4:30 PM, Maximum size: 47, Price: $ 35.00

 

Owls & Rails of MINWR 4:00 PM-8:00 PM, Maximum size: 10, Price: $ 60.00

 

Kayak Birding at Mullethead Island Rookery 4:30 PM-6:30 PM, Maximum size: 8, Price: $70.00

 

Nocturnal Hike at EF 6:30 PM-8:30 PM, Maximum size: 20, Price: $ 15.00

January 26, 2020
Trips are listed in chronological order. Trips on the water are in blue and EEL trips are in green. View trip descriptions below.

 

Central FL Specialties 5:00 AM-4:00 PM, Maximum size: 30, Price: $ 115.00

 

TM Goodwin WMA 5:00 AM-3:00 PM, Maximum size: 21, Price: $105.00

 

Lake Woodruff NWR 5:00 AM-12:30 PM, Maximum size: 21, Price: $ 80.00

 

Hal Scott Woodpecker Hunt 5:00 AM-12:30 PM, Maximum size: 16, Price: $75.00

 

Viera Wetlands 6:30 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 21, Price: $ 65.00

 

Kayak Birding at Mullethead Island Rookery 6:30 AM-8:30 AM, Maximum size: 8, Price: $70.00

 

Orlando Wetlands Park Tram Tour 7:00 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 18, Price: $ 65.00

 

A Walk at Blue Heron 7:20 AM-10:30 AM, Maximum size: 16, Price: $ 35.00

 

Gulls & More at Jetty Park 7:30 AM-11:00 AM, Maximum size: 18, Price: $ 30.00

 

Smyrna Dunes 8:00 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum size: 24, Price: $35.00

 

Beach Birds Intro and Boat Trip 8:15 AM-2:15 PM, Maximum size: 36, Price: $95.00

 

Really Rare Plant Walk 9:00 AM-12:00 PM, Maximum size: 16, Price: $15.00

 

Betty Salter Trail at The Great Outdoors 9:00 AM-12:00 AM, Maximum size: 14, Price: $25.00

 

Airboat Birding Along the St Johns River 10:00 AM-11:30 AM, Maximum Size: 5, Price: $90.00

January 27, 2020
Trips are listed in chronological order. Trips on the water are in blue and EEL trips are in green. View trip descriptions below.

Offshore Birding and Wildlife Make-up 7:30 AM-5:00 PM, Maximum size: 71, Price: $195.00

Field Trips A-Z

A Drive at Blue Heron Wetlands
Jan. 25, 7:20am-10:30am; Limit 16 Registrants; $35
Lora Losi, Matt Heyden & Al Brayton (Space Coast Audubon)

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 dike 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. 26; 7:20am-10:30am; Limit 16 Registrants; $35
Lora Losi & Matt Heyden (Space Coast Audubon), Christina Baal (Drawing 10,000 Birds) &
Erin Lenhert (M.Sc. Ornithology)

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 dike 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.


 

Airboat Birding Along the St Johns River
Jan. 22 & 24, 10:00am-11:30am and 12:30pm-1:30pm; Limit 5 Registrants; $90
Jan. 26, 10:00am-11:30am; Limit 5 Registrants; $90
The birding guide on Jan. 22 will be: George Armistead (Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Tours)
The birding guide on Jan. 24 will be: Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours)
The birding guide on Jan. 26 will be: Kelly Smith (American Birding Association)

Meet at the Highway 50 Boat Ramp, 28500 East Colonial Drive, Christmas, FL 32709. You must be in reasonably good shape in order to get up into the high seats on the airboat. Dress warmly (waterproof clothing is best) as it will be very chilly out on the water.
There are no restroom facilities here.
Join a local airboat guide, a professional birding guide and other birders on this exclusive small personal tour as you glide along marshes and into a secluded cypress swamp to view an abundance of wading birds, waterfowl and raptors on this special adventure. The St Johns River floodplain is only accessible by airboat due to the shallow depth. Your guides will point out the habitats and ongoing activity of the many species that are found here. Other wildlife, including alligators, may be encountered. You will enjoy the exclusive combination of Captain Mike, a fifth generation Floridian who grew up on here on the river, and a professional birding tour guide. This is a great opportunity for birders who prefer to avoid strenuous walking or hiking.


 

Barrier Island Center and Pelican Island Sunset Fly-In
Jan. 23 & 24, 9:30am-7:30pm, Limit 32 Registrants; $125
Anne Birch (The Nature Conservancy), Ross Hinkle (Professor Emeritus in Biology, University
of Central Florida) & Glenn Crawford (Wildside Nature Tours) with
Jan. 23: Kevin Burke (Ventures Birding Tours)
Jan. 24: Larry Richardson (Sabrewing Nature Tours)

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) and a video followed by scoping for shorebirds and sea birds at the boardwalk along the Atlantic Ocean. 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 Pelican, Lesser Scaup, Mottled Duck, Common Loon, Horned Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-breasted Merganser and many gulls and terns. Bottle-nosed dolphins are probable and sea turtles are possible. In the event of inclement weather, participants on the trip will view Pelican Island and the birds coming in to roost for the evening from the Refuge’s land-based location on the barrier island. 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 & Boat Trip
Jan. 26, 8:15am-9:45am Classroom Intro at the Marine Discovery Center
then 10:15am-2:15pm Boat Trip; Limit 36 Registrants; $95
Adam Kent (FL Ornithological Society), Gina Kent (Avian Research & Conservation Institute), Michael Brothers (Marine Science Center Pelagic Adventures) & Greg Miller (Wildside Nature Tours)

Meet at the Marine Discovery Center, 520 Barracuda Blvd. New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169.
Following the classroom presentation, drive to the Meet-up Spot for the Pontoon Boat: 116 North Causeway, New Smyrna Beach, FL. From the Marine Discovery Center, go south on Barracuda Blvd. for 0.3 miles. Turn right at the traffic light and head west. After crossing the little bridge, turn left into the second driveway, directly across from the BB&T bank. Park in the grassy field. Please arrive 15 minutes early. There is a marine head on the boat but it is highly recommended that you use the restroom before boarding the boat. Lunch is included. Bring water, snacks, sunscreen and dress warmly.
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, a 4-hour boat trip on the Coast Guard certified 40-passenger pontoon boat, Discovery, will target Disappearing Island just after high tide, when large concentrations of gulls, terns and shorebirds will be congregating to feed during the falling tide. Other exposed sand bars near Ponce Inlet and the Halifax River will also be visited, if possible. Twenty species of shorebirds are possible here, including American Oystercatchers, Piping and Wilson’s Plovers, Purple Sandpipers and Red Knots. There is always a possibility of finding rarities such as a Glaucous or Iceland Gull.


 

Beginning Birding Field Trip at MINWR
Jan. 22 & 24, 8:00am-11:30m; Limit 12 Registrants; $30
Jeff Gordon & Liz Gordon (American Birding Association) & Betty Salter (The Great Outdoors Trail Master and Naturalist)

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.


 

Betty Salter Trail at The Great Outdoors
Jan. 26, 9:00am-12:00pm; Limit 14 Registrants; $25
Betty Salter (The Great Outdoors Trail Master & Naturalist) & Selena Kiser (Wildlife Biologist)

Meet at the parking lot across from the Great Outdoors Community Church, 144 Plantation Drive, Titusville, FL 32780. Gate access is required at the entrance to The Great Outdoors. Be prepared to show the gatekeeper your ID and explain that you are there for a tour with Betty Salter. This is a combination golf cart and walking tour. Drivers are provided for the golf carts. The walking distance is up to 1 mile depending on previous weather conditions. Good hiking shoes & walking stick recommended as the ground is sometimes torn up by feral hogs. It is recommended that you use the restroom before arriving as there are no restrooms available out on the trail.
Explore the land that was once owned by the Titusville Fruit and Farm Land Company who attempted to dig the Addison Canal to drain the wetlands of the St Johns River. As you enter the trail, there is a wet meadow on the right. In spring it is covered in a variety of wildflowers. The first half of the trail has little shade as it passes between wetlands, ponds, and the Canaveral Marshes tract of St. Johns River Water Management District. Midway through the trail there is a 30-foot-long twelve-inch-wide concrete weir with a coated wire cable handrail which we will cross. To the left is a borrow pond and to the right a streambed connected to the St. Johns River. The second half of the trail is shaded by pines, palms, cedars and oak trees. Cattle pastures, ponds, forest and marshes flank this part of the trail. Egrets and herons, ducks and shorebirds as well as bobcats, deer and alligators have been seen on this trail. There are two places along this part of the trail where water from the wetlands have breached the berm and may contain water. The spots are not very deep and are about 2-3 feet wide. Birds that might be seen include Sandhill Cranes, Great Horned Owls, Osprey and Red-Shouldered Hawks. After the tour, consider having lunch at the Blue Heron Restaurant or the Juke Box Café.


 

Birding by Ear
Jan. 23, 7:30am-9:30am; Limit 16 Registrants; $15
Lora Losi & Matt Heyden (Space Coast Audubon)

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.


 

Birding and Casual Photography
Jan. 22 & 25, 7:30am-11:30am, Limit 10 Registrants; $60
Kevin Karlson (Kevin T. Karlson Photography)

Meet at the parking area at Orlando Wetlands Park. Restrooms are available at the parking lot but not out on the dikes.
Come join Kevin at the fabulous Orlando Wetlands for a morning of birding and casual photography. We will see a great assortment of marsh birds, raptors and a few woodland birds, and you will have the opportunity to take pictures of them during the walk. Kevin is a professional photo instructor, so he will answer questions you have about photography, as well as sharing natural history stories about the birds. This location gives you excellent looks at Florida’s special birds without dealing with car traffic or crowding. This trip will involve a good amount of walking on level surfaces, so if you have any walking problems, it probably is not the trip for you.


 

Black Rails at the St. Johns NWR
Jan. 22 & 23; 4:00pm-7:00pm; Limit 14 Registrants; $60
Kimberly King-Wrenn (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service MINWR), David Simpson (Birding with David Simpson) & Erin Lehnert (M.Sc. Ornithology)

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. Erin studied rails for her Master’s Degree in Ornithology at University of Central Oklahoma.


 

Blue Dolphin Birding and Wildlife Boat Tour
Jan. 22, 23, 24, & 25, 2:00pm-4:30pm; Limit 47 Registrants; $35
Mark & Michelle Anderson (Blue Dolphin) & Betty Salter (The Great Outdoors Trail Master and Naturalist) with
Jan. 22: Greg Miller (Wildside Nature Tours)
Jan. 23: Catherine Hamilton (Wildside Nature Tours)
Jan. 24: Kevin Burke (Ventures Birding Tours)
Jan. 25: Chris Brown (Wildside Nature Tours)

A drink, snack and lunch from Fishlips Waterfront Bar and Grill are included on Jan. 25.
A drink and snack are included on Jan. 22, 23 and 24. The boat 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.
Space Coast River Tours, Inc. is offering a scenic 2 hr. wildlife boat tour thru Merritt Island’s Barge Canal. Barge Canal is the longest (almost 4 miles) the deepest (12 ft. Deep) and widest (couple hundred feet) canal the Army Corp of Engineers have dug in the United States and this tour takes you from the Banana River Lagoon to the Indian River Lagoon by way of the Barge Canal. It’s loaded with Osprey, Heron, Egrets, Pelicans, Ibis, dozens of others plus dolphin, are typically viewed. The tour highlights a rookery at the west end in the Indian River Lagoon. A little cruise into Sykes Creek with the Ulumay Wildlife Sanctuary on one side and residential waterfront property on the other. Boat is covered for inclement weather with a restroom aboard. Fold down tables for the snacks and drinks provided or bring your own. There are excellent photo opportunities on this relaxing, informative tour.


 

Central Florida Specialties
Jan. 23, 24, & 26, 5:00am-4:00pm; Limit 30 Registrants; $115
Jim Eager (Obsessive Compulsive Birding) & Dave Goodwin (FL Ornithological Society) with
Jan. 23: Tom Ledford (Space Coast Audubon), Aidan Place (ABA-Leica Subadult Wheatears Birding Team), & Ric Zarwell (Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures)
Jan. 24: Catherine Hamilton (Wildside Nature Tours) & Arturo Kirkconnell Sr. (Partnership for International Birding)
Jan. 26: Larry Richardson & Eric Ripma (Sabrewing Nature Tours)

Meet at the EFSC bus circle to board the bus. Box lunch is provided. Restroom stops will be made at porta potties along the way.
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 at the Cruickshank Sanctuary in Rockledge for Florida’s only endemic bird, the Florida Scrub-Jay.


 

Chain of Lakes Bird Walk
Jan. 22, 23 & 24, 1:30pm-3:30pm; Limit 10 Registrants; $20
Jan. 25, 10:00am-12:00pm; Limit 10 Registrants; $20
Selena Kiser (Wildlife Biologist)

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.


 

Cruickshank Sanctuary’s Florida Scrub-Jays
Jan. 23, 8:30am-10:30am; Limit 20 Registrants; $15
Vince Lamb (Preserve Brevard) and Mark Prynoski (EEL Program Volunteer)

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).


 

Florida Scrub-Jays & Scrub Fire Ecology
Jan. 24 & 25, 8:30am-12:30pm; Limit 40 Registrants; $15
David Breininger, PhD, Paul Schmalzer, PhD & Charlie Venuto (KSC Visitor Complex)

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 is a wildlife ecologist, Paul is a plant ecologist at the Kennedy Space Center and Charlie is the Director for Environmental Health and Safety for Delaware North Corporation at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. 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. 23, 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.


 

Gull Fly-In at Daytona Beach Shores
Jan. 23 & 24; 3:30pm-6:00pm; Limit 30 Registrants; $45
Michael Brothers (Marine Science Center Pelagic Adventures) with
Jan. 23: Amar Ayyash (www.anythinglarus.com), David Hartgrove (Halifax River Audubon) &
Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours)
Jan. 24: David Hartgrove (Halifax River Audubon), Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours) &
Eric Ripma (Sabrewing Nature Tours)

Meet at Frank Rendon Park, 2705 S. Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach Shores, FL. There are restrooms at the park.
This beach is known for the amazing spectacle of what may be the largest congregation of gulls on any beach in the US. In addition to the incredible 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 astounding 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.


 

Gulls and More at Jetty Park
Jan. 25 & 26, 7:30am-11:00am; Limit 18 Registrants; $30
Amar Ayyash (www.anythinglarus.com) & George Armistead (Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures) with
Jan 25: Chris Brown (Wildside Nature Tours)
Jan. 26: Jason Guerard (Black Swamp Bird Observatory)

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.
Don’t miss out on this fun opportunity to spend time in the field with some of the birding world’s premier gull connoisseurs. There’s a lot going on at this beachside park where the waters of Port Canaveral kiss the sea. Watercraft of all shapes and sizes come and go, from commercial and recreational fishing boats to some of the world’s largest cruise ships. Jetty Park features a 1200-foot fishing pier over the top of a rock jetty that teems with wildlife – don’t be surprised if you spot a juvenile green sea turtle grazing on algae that grows on the rocks. Here lush vegetated dunes give way to a wide beach where all types of beach birds hang out. The natural habitat provides a much nicer backdrop than a landfill to compare plumages and age classes in gull species. Shorebirds, terns and wading birds also love this area and you just might see some gannets and jaegers offshore, especially if a shrimp boat is fishing near the shore.


 

Hal Scott Preserve Woodpecker Hunt with Steve Shunk
Jan. 26, 5:00am-12:30pm; Limit 16 Registrants; $75
Steve Shunk (Paradise Birding), Maria Zondervan & Graham Williams (St Johns River Water Management District), Lorne Malo (FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission) & Mitchell Harris (FL Ornithological Society)

Meet on the south side of the gym at 4:45 AM to line up cars for the trip out to Hal Scott Preserve. It is a short trip of approximately 30 minutes. Please use the restroom prior to leaving the college. There are no restrooms at Hal Scott preserve! A restroom stop will be made after leaving Hal Scott prior to setting off on the second part of the trip. Bring snacks and water.
This is an exclusive opportunity to spend time in the field with Steve Shunk, author of the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America. Biologists Maria Zondervan & Lorne Malo will lead an early morning trip at the Hal Scott Regional Preserve & Park to look for as many woodpecker species as can be found. On-site transportation will be in a 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, as we 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. The second part of the morning will be spent at additional places to try to get the remaining woodpecker species that were not found at Hal Scott. Those areas will be determined through pre-festival scouting.


 

Historic Pritchard House and Gardens Tour
Jan. 23 & 24, 2:30pm-4:30pm; Limit 16 Registrants; $15
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 wwwpritchardhouse.com.


 

Historic Sites of Canaveral National Seashore
Jan. 25, 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 in New Smryna Beach.
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.


 

How to Bird Like the Experts
Jan. 23, 7:30am-12:00pm; Limit 12 Registrants; $60
Kevin Karlson (Kevin T. Karlson Photography)

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.
Come along as Kevin combines the traditional field mark approach to ID with a more holistic one that incorporates physical features and behavior to reach a more complete ID picture. Most of the expert guides use this combined approach on a regular basis, and you too can improve your field skills by employing this technique. This approach concentrates initially on the relative size, shape, structure and behavior of every bird, and then fills in the blanks using conventional field marks and details. Come and experience a different way of identifying and looking at birds, with an emphasis on having fun and sharing with others. Kevin’s book Birding by Impression: A Different Approach to Knowing and Identifying Birds was released in 2015, and covers this exciting ID technique in detail.


 

Kayak Birding at Mullethead Island Rookery
Jan. 23 & 25, 6:30am-8:30am and 4:30pm-6:30pm; Limit 8 Registrants; $70
Jan. 26, 6:30am-8:30am; Limit 8 Registrants; $70
The birding guide on Jan. 23 will be: Lorne Malo (FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission)
The birding guide on Jan. 25 will be: Emilie Travis (Ventures Birding Tours)
The birding guide on Jan. 26 will be: Emilie Travis (Ventures Birding Tours)

Meet at the kayak launch on the northwest side of Haulover Canal 15 minutes early. The kayaks are sit-inside doubles. Dress warmly as it will be chilly out on the water. Waterproof clothing is best. The trip will not take place if there is a stiff wind. The kayak tour operator will make the call.
There is a porta-potty at the kayak launch.
Join a local kayak guide, a professional birding guide and other birders on this exclusive small personal tour for one of the best bird shows you will ever see all set to the backdrop of rocket pads and the iconic NASA landscape. One of Florida’s most significant colonial water bird nesting islands, Mullethead Island and its surrounding grass flats provide an opportunity to observe a variety of birds from the water. Sunrise and sunset are magical times on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. As the sky ignites with dynamic colors, Mullethead Island, a federally protected rookery, buzzes with activity. Hundreds of birds roost on the island every night, including every species of egret, heron and, ibis commonly found in Florida along with spoonbills, cormorants and pelicans. Some of the birds will already be nesting. Take your pick of the sunrise flight as the birds leave the island or the sunset flight when they return.


 

Lake Apopka Northshore
Jan. 22 & 23, 5:00am-4:00pm; Limit 21 Registrants; $115
Meet at EFSC bus circle to board the bus. Box lunch is included. There are porta potties located throughout the restoration area.
Maria Zondervan & Jim Peterson (St Johns River Water Management District) with
Jan. 22: Rebecca Smith & Gallus Quigley (Archaeopteryx Birding & Nature Tours), &
Gabriel Lugo (Wildside Nature Tours)
Jan. 23: Gina Kent (Avian Research & Conservation Institute), Adam Kent (FL Ornithological
Society & Eric Ripma (Sabrewing Nature Tours)

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 369 species having been recorded. During the winter months, more than 150 species regularly use the property, from showy herons and egrets to ducks and shorebirds and 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 and returning cleaner water to the lake. If the weather allows, attendees will tour in the District’s 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.


 

Lake Woodruff NWR
Jan. 25 & 26, 5:00am-12:30pm; 21 Registrants; $80
David Hartgrove (Halifax River Audubon) with
Jan. 25: Gallus Quigley (Archaeopteryx Birding & Nature Tours), Jesse Huth (Partnership for International Birding) & Eric Ripma (Sabrewing Nature Tours)
Jan. 26: John Lowry (American Birding Association) & Gabriel Lugo (Wildside Nature Tours)

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.


 

Manatees of Blue Spring and St. Johns River Cruise
Jan. 23, 7:15am-2:15pm; Limit 32 Registrants; $110
Tiffany Barrineau (Brevard Nature Alliance Community Outreach Coordinator), Sarah Anderson (Space Coast Audubon), Greg Miller (Wildside Nature Tours) & Emilie Harris (Ventures Birding Tours)

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 State Park prior to leaving on the boat tour. Price includes lunch.
This special trip consists of a visit to Blue Spring State Park (BSSP) and a boat tour on the St. Johns River. The morning will start with a walk along the shore of Blue Spring Run to observe Florida’s most charismatic megafauna, the West Indian Manatee, and bird the woodlands surrounding the spring run. What makes BSSP so unique and special is that during colder months its crystal-clear waters are one Florida’s best places to watch the 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. Lunch will be served on a river cruise onboard a U.S. Coast Guard approved pontoon boat that 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 a historic cypress logging canal and into the Hontoon Dead River, where you will experience the wild and pristine Florida swamp as it has been over the centuries. Highlights from last year include more than a dozen Purple Gallinules, over two dozen Limpkins, more than three dozen Anhingas, both night herons and 5 species of woodpeckers.


 

Nocturnal Nature Hike at Enchanted Forest
Jan. 25, 6:30pm-8:30pm, Limit 20 Registrants; $15
Alex Robertson & Patty Rendon (EEL Program)

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.


 

Ocala National Forest Woodpecker Hunt with Steve Shunk
Jan. 23, 4:30am-12:00pm; Limit 18 Registrants; $95
Steve Shunk (Paradise Birding), Rebecca Smith & Gallus Quigley (Archaeopteryx
Birding and Nature Tours)

Meet at EFSC bus circle to board the bus.
Bring water. A snack bag will be provided. A restroom stop will be made prior to arriving at the trailhead & on the way back. There are no restrooms at the trailhead or on the 2.4-mile trail trail. Bring a headlamp or flashlight in order to hike approximately ½ mile on a well-maintained trail in the dark.
Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to search for woodpeckers with Steve Shunk, author of the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America. On the southeastern side of the Ocala National Forest, the Clearwater Lakes Recreation Area Trailhead provides access to an exceptional
fire-managed sandhill ecosystem which is home to 2 clusters of Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Thanks to regular prescribed burns, this section of the forest has a diverse wire grass under-story, a long-leaf pine over-story and dead pines in various stages of decay. This means that on a good morning in winter one might find all 8 species of regularly occurring Central Florida woodpeckers. This habitat is also home to Brown-headed Nuthatch and Bachman’s Sparrow. We will start just before daybreak and hike to one of the two local RCWO clusters followed by some additional hiking in search of other woodpecker species and wintering birds. Participants should bring a headlamp or flashlight in order to hike approximately 0.5 miles on a well-maintained trail in the dark. Total walking distance for the morning is 2.4 miles.


 

Offshore Birding and Wildlife Adventure
Jan. 22; 7:30am-5:00pm; Limit 71 Registrants; $195
If the weather is bad and the boat cannot go on Jan. 22, the make-up day is Monday, Jan. 27
Leaders: Michael Brothers (Marine Science Center Pelagic Adventures) with Julie Albert (Marine Resources Council Right Whale Coordinator), Amar Ayyash (www.anythinglarus.com), Chris Brown (Wildside Nature Tours), Jim Eager (Obsessive Compulsive Birding), Dave Goodwin (FL Ornithological Society), David Hartgrove (Halifax River Audubon), Steve Shunk (Paradise Birding) & Emilie Travis (Ventures Birding Tours)

Meet: at the Canaveral Princess, 670 Glen Cheek Drive, Port Canaveral, FL; Phone: 321-784-6300. www.orlandoprincess.com. The Canaveral Princess docks between Rusty’s and Gator’s Dockside Restaurants in Port Canaveral. Please arrive 20 minutes early. The boat is not ADA accessible.
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. We will first visit working shrimp boats for the birds that follow them. Our chumming behind the boat will result in a crowd of gulls, terns, pelicans and gannets to watch from amazingly close quarters. Once we’ve collected some birds to follow our boat, if the weather permits, we’ll set out for the Gulf Stream. Our destination will be 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. 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 endangered North Atlantic Right Whales. Julie Albert, Florida Coordinator for the Northern Right Whale Program will be onboard. Julie holds a research permit that allows any vessel she is on to get closer than the 1500-foot buffer that all other boats must adhere to when a North Atlantic Right Whale is spotted.

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; Band-rumped Storm Petrel; Bridled and Sooty Tern; Brown Booby; Red Phalarope; Black-legged Kittiwake and Sabine’s Gull. One year we even saw a Razorbill. 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.

** If the trip does not go as scheduled on Wednesday, January 22nd, you will automatically be rescheduled for Monday, January 27th.  If the trip is cancelled on both dates due to inclement weather as determined by the boat’s captain, only then will you receive a full refund.  Please do not book this trip if you are not prepared to stay through Monday should the need arise due to schedule change. If the trip does not go as scheduled on the 22nd and DOES go on the 27th, there will be NO refunds for anyone who cannot be on board on the 27th! Don’t worry if the boat does go on Wednesday and you are still here on Monday.  There are plenty of places to bird and things to do here on the Space Coast.  The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex tops the list.


 

Orlando Wetlands Park Tram Tour
Jan. 24, 25 & 26, 7:00am-11:30am; $65
On Jan. 24 the Limit is 9 and the Leader is Simon Thompson (Ventures Birding Tours)
On Jan. 25 & 26 the Limit is 18 and the Leaders are Simon Thompson (Ventures Birding Tours) & Rebecca Smith (Archaeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours)

Meet at the Orlando Wetlands Park parking lot, 25155 Wheeler Road, Christmas, FL 32709
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.


 

Owls and Rails of MINWR
Jan. 25, 4:00pm-8:00pm; Limit 10 Registrants; $60
Mitchell Harris (FL Ornithological Society)

Meet at the north side of the Parrish Park Boat Ramp parking lot by the picnic pavilions. There are restrooms nearby at the east end of Parrish Park. There will be no restrooms available out on the Refuge dikes or trails.
Join Mitchell for an evening out in search of the denizens of the dark at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. We’ll search the marshes and hammocks for Great Horned, Screech, Barred and possibly Short-eared Owl. Before we begin our search for owls, we will spend some time along the marshes of Peacock’s Pocket listening for rails. In the past we’ve had good luck with four species of rails in these marshes, including Black Rail. So, if you are interested in nocturnal birds, just bring your sense of curiosity and a flashlight or two.


 

Owls of Florida at Sam’s House
Jan. 23 & 24, 6:00pm-8:30pm; Limit 20 Registrants; $15
Alex Schilling, Martha Pessaro & Featuring Susan Boorse (EEL Program)

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 are advised, as well as a flashlight for the trail hike).


 

Really Rare Plant Walk
Jan 26, 9:00am-12:00pm; Limit 16 Registrants; $15
Jim Stahl (Space Coast Audubon)

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.


 

River to the Sea Rundown
Jan. 22, 24 & 25, 6:30am-3:30pm; Limit 24 Registrants; $85
Lorne Malo (FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission) & Sarah Anderson (Space Coast Audubon) with
Jan. 22: Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours) & Aidan Place (ABA-Leica Subadult Wheatears
Birding Team)
Jan. 24: Chris Brown & Gabriel Lugo (Wildside Nature Tours)
Jan. 25: Chris Newton (Local Naturalist) & Larry Richardson (Sabrewing Nature Tours)

Meet at EFSC bus circle to board the bus. This trip requires some moderate walking. Bring money for lunch at Dixie Crossroads. Restroom stops will be made along the way.
Northern Brevard County is home to some of our nation’s most significant conservation lands. Owned and managed by a variety of agencies, they span the landscape from the St Johns River on the west side to the Atlantic Ocean on the east. 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 find. We will relish the rising sun by the side of the St Johns River as the birds awaken and flock to the floodplain, then work our way 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 more than 108 species over the years. Sites to be visited will include Hatbill Park, Seminole Ranch, Salt Lake Wildlife Management Area, 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. 23 & 24, 6:45am-11:30am; Limit 26 Registrants; $20
Dave Turner & Bryan Ames (Fl Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission) & Chris Newton
(Local Naturalist) with
Jan. 23: Tom Dunkerton (Opticron), Wendy Clark & Dawn Hewitt (Bird Watcher’s Digest)
Jan. 24: Kelly Smith (American Birding Association), Gunnar Engblom (Kolibri Expeditions)
Giovani Ortiz (Icaro Birding Tours)

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. Gopher tortoises, 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.


 

Scottsmoor Flatwoods Sanctuary Trailer Tour
Jan. 23, 9:00am-11:00am, Limit 16 Registrants; $15
Jen Howell & Deb Robinson (EEL Program) & Selena Kiser (Wildlife Biologist)

Meet at Scottsmoor Flatwoods Sanctuary/Parrish Park, 6000 Magoon Ave., Scottsmoor, FL. There are restrooms at the park but not out on the trails.  
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.


 

Shiloh’s Sharptails, Marshbirds and More
Jan. 23 & 24; 6:15am-11:00am; Limit 18 Registrants; $60
Mitchell Harris (FL Ornithological Society) with
Jan. 23: Jason Guerard (Black Swamp Bird Observatory), David Simpson (Birding with David Simpson), Arturo Kirkconnell Sr. and Jesse Huth (Partnership for International Birding)
Jan. 24: Rebecca Smith (Archaeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours), Carlos Bethancourt (Canopy Tower, Panama) and Shem Compion (C 4 Photo Safaris), & Sam Woods (Tropical Birding)

Meet at the Kangaroo Express, 6004 US Highway 1, Mims, 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.


 

Shorebirds of the Carr Refuge
Jan. 24, 9:30am-11:00am; Limit 15 Registrants; $15
Mike Lee (Shorebird Alliance Surveyor, Master Naturalist & EEL Program Volunteer)

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.


 

Smyrna Dunes Park
Jan. 25 & 26; 8:00am-11:30am; Limit 24 Registrants; $35
Joan Tague (Halifax River Audubon) & John Kendall (Indiana Bird Records Committee) with
Jan. 25: Aidan Place (ABA-Leica Subadult Wheatears Birding Team), Ric Zarwell (Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures)
Jan. 26: Liz & Jeff Gordon (American Birding Association) & Kevin Burke (Ventures Birding Tours)

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 at the inlet’s mouth attracts sea birds, especially Northern Gannets. Passerines are possible in the hammocks.


 

South Lake Conservation Area
Jan. 24, 9:00am-10:30am, Limit 20 Registrants; $15
Damien Keene & Jonny Baker (EEL Program)

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.


 

South Pine Flatwoods Hike at Pine Island Conservation Area
Jan. 25, 10am-12:00pm; Limit 20 Registrants; $15
Alex Schilling (EEL Program)

Meet at Sams House, 6195 North Tropical Trail Merritt Island, FL. There are restrooms at Sams House but not on the trail. 
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).


 

St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park
Jan. 25, 4:30am-12:00pm; limit 16 Registrants, $80
Samantha McGee (Florida State Parks), David Simpson (Birding with David Simpson) &
Glenn Crawford (Wildside Nature Tours)

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 ½ 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 22, 24 & 26, 5:00am-3:00pm; Limit 21 Registrants; $105
David Simpson (Birding with David Simpson) with
Jan. 22: Kevin Burke (Ventures Birding Tours & Larry Richardson (Sabrewing Nature Tours)
Jan. 24: Erin Lenhert (M.Sc. Ornithology), Emilie Travis (Ventures Birding Tours), & Jesse Huth (Partnership for International Birding)
Jan. 26: Tom Dunkerton (Opticron) & Gallus Quigley (Archaeopteryx Birding & Nature Tours)

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. 22, 23 & 24, 6:15am-11:30am; Limit 18 Registrants; $40
Lynn Proenza & Casey Dorsch (FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission) with
Jan. 22: Gigi DelPizzo (FWC), Carlos Bethancourt (Canopy Family Panama), Ken Burgener (Carefree Birding), Shem Compion (C 4 Photo Safaris)
Jan. 23: Gigi DelPizzo (FWC), John Lowry (American Birding Association), Giovanni Ortiz (Icaro Birding Tours) & Gunnar Engblom (Kolibri Expeditions)
Jan. 24: Adam Kent (FL Ornithological Society), Gina Kent (Avian Research and Conservation Institute), Wendy Clark & Dawn Hewitt (Bird Watcher’s Digest)

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. 22 & 24; 6:45am-11:00am; Limit 8 Registrants; $60
Stephen Stipkovits (Florida Forest Service) with
Jan. 22: Jason Guerard (Black Swamp Bird Observatory & Giovani Ortiz (Icaro Birding Tours)
Jan. 24: David Hartgrove (Halifax River Audubon) & Joao Jara (Birds & Nature Tours Portugal)

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.


 

Viera Wetlands – Ritch Grissom Memorial Park
Jan. 22, 25 & 26, 6:30am-11:30am; Limit 21 Registrants; $65
Tom Ledford (Space Coast Audubon) with
Jan. 22: Joao Jara (Birds & Nature Tours Portugal), Ben Knoot (Tropical Birding Tours), Gunnar Engblom (Kolibri Expeditions)
Jan. 25: Dawn Hewitt (Bird Watcher’s Digest), Gabriel Lugo (Wildside Nature Tours), and Arturo Kirkconnell Sr. (Partnership for International Birding)
Jan. 26: Glenn Crawford & Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours)

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.


 

Watson Trail at The Great Outdoors
Jan. 25, 9:00am-12:00pm; Limit 14 Registrants; $25
Betty Salter (The Great Outdoors Trail Master & Naturalist) & John Lowry (American Birding Association)

Meet at the parking lot across from the Great Outdoors Community Church, 144 Plantation Drive, Titusville, FL 32780. Gate access is required at the entrance to The Great Outdoors. Be prepared to show the gatekeeper your ID and explain that you are there for a tour with Betty Salter. This is a combination golf cart and walking tour. Drivers are provided for the golf carts. The walking distance is approx. ½ mile to 1 mile depending on previous weather conditions. Good hiking shoes & walking stick recommended as the ground is sometimes torn up by feral hogs. It is recommended that you use the restroom before arriving as there are no restrooms available out on the trail.
The Watson Trail provides a view of an eagle’s nest and birding opportunities in forests, ponds and mudflats. If there has been a lot of rain part of the trail may have water on it. The trail to the eagle viewing spot passes through a mixed forest with views of the marsh and a good-sized pond that often has egrets and herons as well as Ospreys and terns. Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks, and American White Pelicans occasionally visit the pond. Red-bellied, Pileated, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, American Robins, Wild Turkeys, warblers and Catbirds are possible in the forest. Spotting scopes offer the best view of the eagle’s nest, but binoculars are also very effective. At the eagle’s nest viewing area, a pond surrounded by mudflats and marsh often has shorebirds and waders. Otters have also been seen in this area on several occasions. Birds that may be seen on the way to the Watson Trail include Sandhill Cranes, Great Horned Owls, Ospreys and Red-shouldered Hawks. White-tailed deer and alligators are also likely to be seen here. After the tour, consider having lunch at the Blue Heron Restaurant or the Juke Box Café.


 

Wildflowers, Plants, & Other Things of the North Brevard Area
Jan. 22, 8:45am-3:30pm; Limit 16 Registrants; $20
Jan. 24, 9:45am-4:30pm; Limit 16 Registrants; $20
Jim Stahl (Space Coast Audubon)

Meet at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.
IMPORTANT: Bring your own water, snacks and lunch.
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.