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South Florida Birding Trip Planning Stage


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We are planning a trip to South Florida next month. This is suppose to be a mostly birding trip but our 16 year old granddaughter is coming with and she is not so much into birds. We are staying in Florida City near the entrance to the portion of the A1A that takes you into the Florida Keys. We also intend to bird some of Miami-Dade County. We leave on a Monday for the 8 + hour drive there. Coming home on Friday another 8+ hour drive home. So basically Tuesday-Thursday are left for birding and other activities.

We sadly won't be able to get to the Dry Tortugues on the ferry at least, as it is booked solid. I have been researching on ebird and have a list going of where to go and what we might see at each birding hotspot. The birds we are looking for in general are those that more specific to south Florida than central or north Florida. 

So here are my questions-first does any one know of an affordable way to get to the Dry Tortugues? If not this trip then maybe in May. The best month to go from what I can tell. And what are the insider tips? Is parking going to be a problem? Are some trails better in certain hotspots than others for viewing birds? Are there boat trips we should try besides the Dry Tortugues? How do I get my granddaughter more interesting in birding? (really I don't know how I failed here) Must sees both bird related and not bird related. Any lesser known great birding spots. Oh and my granddaughter loves the beach and art (she is a very talented young artist herself) and shopping, any recommendations there also appreciated? Food a birder has to eat? Any bests here or places to avoid always good to know! 

All information that could help us make the most of this trip will be appreciated more than I can say. Thanks in advance!

 

 

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2 hours ago, Clip said:

Oh and my granddaughter loves the beach and art (she is a very talented young artist herself)

 

2 hours ago, Clip said:

How do I get my granddaughter more interesting in birding?

You might try suggesting that your granddaughter incorporate birds into her artwork. Who knows, maybe you can talk her into being your in the field artist and get her to sketch/draw/paint/etc the birds you're observing.

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46 minutes ago, lonestranger said:

 

You might try suggesting that your granddaughter incorporate birds into her artwork. Who knows, maybe you can talk her into being your in the field artist and get her to sketch/draw/paint/etc the birds you're observing.

She can actually earn scholarship money by incorporating birds into her art work but she doesn't. 😢

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Being in Florida City, obviously you will have close access to the Everglades. March should be a decent time, waders will be in close to viewing locations and there should be migrant song birds around. If your thinking of heading further south, I strongly recommend visiting Fort Zachary Taylor in Key West. One of my best days of birding ever was there. Lots of places to stop along the road to Key West... Blue Hole, Bahia State Park, and any little pull off from Rte 1. If sticking closer to Florida City, Miami is fun with the invasive species, Key Largo has some nice parks and there are lots of opportunities northward into Big Cypress.

 

Oh, and as for your granddaughter, keep trying! Some day something might click. We've been lucky with our young kids that they enjoy being outside and following us around birding. Not that they have a choice at 4 and 7 years old!

Edited by Skull Guy
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1 hour ago, Seanbirds said:

Isn’t that the first thing every birder thinks of when they think of Florida??!!?? :classic_laugh:

And it's something I don't think they should. There are much better places to bird then the middle of a giant swamp, as I've learned from experience. It's worth it to go once, but after that, I would suggest heading to other costal locations, as there will be better variety of habitats and passerines.

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