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Everglades and Panhandle - Bird / Wildlife tours

Everglades and Panhandle - Bird / Wildlife tours

Old Jan 17th, 2021, 01:49 PM
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Everglades and Panhandle - Bird / Wildlife tours

Looking for suggestions in two areas; Everglades and Panhandle.
I find many airboat tour operators in the Everglades, seems like a good way to get a taste of the Everglades, see some birds and gaters and other wildlife.
Also wondering about bird and wildlife tours in the Panhandle area.
We plan to be in Florida for several weeks in April/May of this year (if we are vaccinated, which looks likely, and restrictions in Florida). The plan currently is to drive from New Orleans through the panhandle down the west coast, then down to Key West, then back up the east coast on our way back to Texas. (We will not backtrack, but instead travel a bit north through the southern states on our return trip.) We have no time constraints. We are late 70's, mobile in a limited sort of way (not good at hiking).
Any recommendations on how to best view birds and wildlife in those two areas would be greatly appreciated.
BillJ is offline  
Old Jan 18th, 2021, 11:06 AM
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Birding is big in the Pensacola area. Here's a pamphlet from the Audubon Society. I also wouldn't miss the area between Port St. Joe and Apalachicola.

birding-brochure-web.pdf

When we lived in Naples many moons ago we actually saw flamingos on Estero Island. Don't think I'll ever forget that.
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Old Jan 19th, 2021, 05:47 AM
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Between your two destinations on the west side, is Corkscrew Swamp, an Audubon sanctuary near Bonita and Ding Darling on Sanibel. We have not been for ages, but Corkscrew had a raised walkway through the swamp and we saw lots of birds there. Ding Darling can be a drive through or hike or bike through with some places to park and walk or take photos.

Both are worth a visit, the variety of birds differs with the season, but, there are always some.

personally I find the airboats too noisy and too fast for birding.
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Old Jan 19th, 2021, 08:59 AM
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Thank you so much, Austin Traveler and oldemalloy. I copied the brochure and bookmarked Corkscrew and Ding Darling. The brochure offers a lot to consider in the Pensacola area. Corkscrew looks exactly like what I was looking for.
I have the same feeling about airboats, though have never been on one. Seems like a lot of noise, speed and churning up the swamp. But, still, . . . . .
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Old Jan 19th, 2021, 09:09 AM
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There is a Florida Birding Trail website, maybe worth exploring.

One of the easiest places to see wetlands birds along the east coast of South Florida is Green Cay in Palm Beach County. I was out at the edge of the Everglades and another birder in the parking lot recommended it, since I had never seen a Limpkin. Turn right just after you enter, apparently. There it was! Although it's quite busy the birds seem largely habituated to people.

https://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/Pages/GreenCay.aspx
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Old Jan 19th, 2021, 05:20 PM
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Thank you mlgb. Adding to my list.
And, yes, I have found the birding website you mention.
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Old Jan 20th, 2021, 03:35 PM
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The Royal Palm visitor center right inside the park entrance has a short walk just jammed with birds.

I donít believe the air boats operate inside the park, but to the north, west of Miami and Ft Lauderdale. There seems to be a lot more surface water here than there is inside the park.
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Old Jan 28th, 2021, 07:46 PM
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Bike or tram ride in Shark Valley

A great place to see birds but especially alligators is at Shark Valley in Everglades National Park. You can rent bikes and pedal a 15-mile COMPLETELY flat loop through the park, or you can take the tram tour. Itís about 7 miles along a canal that houses a jillion alligators, down to a lookout tower to spot wading birds including roseate spoonbills if youíre lucky, then 7 miles back the other way. Call ahead to see when the tram tours are, and try to get there in the morning because parking can get full. At least it did pre-Covid; maybe there wonít be as many travelers this year.



Originally Posted by BillJ View Post
Looking for suggestions in two areas; Everglades and Panhandle.
I find many airboat tour operators in the Everglades, seems like a good way to get a taste of the Everglades, see some birds and gaters and other wildlife.
Also wondering about bird and wildlife tours in the Panhandle area.
We plan to be in Florida for several weeks in April/May of this year (if we are vaccinated, which looks likely, and restrictions in Florida). The plan currently is to drive from New Orleans through the panhandle down the west coast, then down to Key West, then back up the east coast on our way back to Texas. (We will not backtrack, but instead travel a bit north through the southern states on our return trip.) We have no time constraints. We are late 70's, mobile in a limited sort of way (not good at hiking).
Any recommendations on how to best view birds and wildlife in those two areas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Jan 30th, 2021, 08:22 AM
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Thank you again for all the suggestions. We will definitely stop and take the tram ride at Shark Valley on our way from west to east coast. I had spotted Hwy 41 as a must drive. Green Cay looks perfect. A couple of more on the keys that I have spotted. So I think I'm set for birding, but will welcome additional suggestions. I am following another thread re: beaches. Planning this late April through May. We have had our first shot, second in a couple of weeks. Now all we need is things to be reasonably "open." Thanks again. You all are great! (Sure love this forum.)
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Old Jan 30th, 2021, 01:03 PM
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If they still do it, the National Park service had a site in Everglades City where they would take tours inA boat through the Mangroves on the coast. A very interesting trip.
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