RFI Florida and Everglades

Subject: RFI Florida and Everglades
From: David Adams <>
Date: Sun, 23 Aug 2009 11:08:49 +1000
On Sun, Aug 23, 2009 at 10:22 AM, scott
butcher<> wrote:

> I am planning on heading to the Florida from September 27 till October 8 and 
> want to make it a productive birding trip.
> Does any one have advice on what conditions may be like at this time of year. 
> I would also appreciate if anyone is
> aware of good locations for some florida specialties, Snail Kite, Roseate 
> Spoonbill etc and advice on the most useful
> field guide for the state. Any advice on good cheap accommodation close to 
> some of these birding sites would also
> be appreciated.

Florida has _fantastic_ birding, so long as you're in the right
places. The contrast between the protected natural areas and the
built-up commercial areas ("SNACKS and AMMO HERE!") is startling.

As to field guides, the best national guide for the US is the full
edition of "The Sibley Guide to Birds". Next best is the National
Geographic, which is considerably smaller and handier in the field.

The other wildlife can be pretty great, too. (Crocs, alligators,
manatee, bobcat...)

Take a scope, if you possibly can.

The ABA/Lane Birdfinding Guide "A Birder's Guide to Florida" is
possibly the best site guide I've used anywhere - it's a must have.

As to specifics, Roseate Spoonbill is pretty hard in Florida, Snail
Kite is very localized but possible. Limpkins, likewise, is scarce but
findable. Get the ABA guide and check the index - it's pretty
comprehensively cross-indexed by site and species.

There are dozens of good sites but a few that stand out for me are the
Everglades, as you would expect, and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. I
don't remember spotting any rarities at Corkscrew but it was one of
the loveliest days of birding I can remember. They have a beautiful
boardwalk (nearly 4k long) and lots of great birds. I can't remember
anywhere that I've seen as many Pileated Woodpeckers.

Note that one of the most desired spots for American birders visiting
Florida is the Dry Tortugas. Relative to elsewhere in Florida, this is
going to be an expensive trip (you have to fly in using a small plane
or take a boat). The reason for the interest is that it gives you a
way of seeing deep sea birds for your US list. If that's not of
interest, I'd give it a miss on cost grounds. Also, the best time for
the Dry Tortugas is northern spring and you'll be there in autumn.

Oh, Florida is very hot, sticky and full of bugs.

Florida is really a fantastic birding destination - you should have a
great time!

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