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Florida in December


PalmWarbler
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One other benefit of driving is you also save by not needing a rental car, which can get very expensive.

Anyway, if the trip does get back on the table, I'll throw a few of my own favorites into the ring.

Sanibel Island: J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge - The best place in Lee County to see shorebirds and marsh birds. It's a nice four-mile drive through mixed habitats with plenty of opportunities to pull over and observe various specialties.

Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary - @floraphile mentioned this one. I wish we got more time here.

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive - @Clip mentioned this one above, and I highly recommend it. I'll chip in one piece of advice: it's a really nice drive, but it's only one lane and impossible to allow someone to pass except at a handful of spots. It's usually not a big deal because if you're stopping for something, chances are the person behind you will want to stop too.

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge - Near the NASA facility, another great drive through a marshy area. Be sure to check out Playalinda Beach while you're there.

Shark Valley - A nice stop west of Miami, with a trail around a swamp area. Keep your wits about you, as alligators are frequently on the trail.

The Everglades - Not even worth arguing over; one of the best places in the state for birdwatching. There are many stops along the way, and most of them are worth it. I recommend Anhinga Trail, Mahogany Hammock, Mrazek Pond, and Flamingo. Watch for crocodiles at the last one!

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park - On the island of Key West, this is a great place to observe some unique birds, especially during migration.

 

Here are some older trip reports I put together. The 2018 one is before I started making checklists, so these are pieced together from photos. The 1995 one is the first birding trip I ever went on, and I didn't have a camera at the time.

2018 trip report: https://ebird.org/tripreport/30566

1995 trip report: https://ebird.org/tripreport/30568/42983

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  • 3 months later...
3 minutes ago, PalmWarbler said:

Thank you all for your help! We’re leaving tomorrow 🙂 we tried to fit as many places as possible into the trip. I haven’t been birding in a while so hopefully I can get back on track cause I love winter birding. Thank you all again. 

What part of Florida???

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12 minutes ago, PalmWarbler said:

We’re first going south to the Everglades, then west ish near corkscrew swamp and sanibel island, then northeast to Merritt island and back near Green cay to some smaller places for the last day. It’s a lot of driving haha

Just so you know almost all of sanibal island is closed or destroyed due to the hurricane. 

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15 minutes ago, PalmWarbler said:

We’re first going south to the Everglades, then west ish near corkscrew swamp and sanibel island, then northeast to Merritt island and back near Green cay to some smaller places for the last day. It’s a lot of driving haha

When are you going to be at Green Cay?

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