Discover Florida, far away from the bustling, tourist-packed theme parks on a Naturalist Journeys adventure deep into Florida’s wild side.

Just above the Caribbean tropics, Florida’s climate and geography isolate it from the rest of the United States. Because of its geographically unique position, Florida is a crossroads of the temperate north and the balmy Caribbean south. Indeed, nearly a dozen bird species of West Indian origin reach the northern limits of their range here. Many of these species live nowhere else in the United States. We schedule our tour near the end of April when spring migration is well underway, potentially augmenting our trip bird list with a wide variety of northbound, colorful warblers and charismatic waders.

On this tour, we cover the southern third of the state in search of the many specialty birds on offer. We begin by experiencing the justifiably famous and unique Everglades, otherwise known as the River of Grass, in search of a broad suite of specialties that include the critically endangered ‘Cape Sable’ Seaside Sparrow and the majestic Swallow-tailed Kite. In the Florida Keys, we seek out Caribbean specialties such as White-crowned Pigeon, Black-whiskered Vireo, and Mangrove Cuckoo. We also spend time birding in Miami, a city with a decidedly Caribbean flair, in search of several ABA-countable exotics such as Spot-breasted Oriole, White-winged Parakeet and Red-whiskered Bulbul. On the last leg of our journey, we visit a series of well-planned wetlands in Palm Beach where nearly all the Florida wetland specialties occur: Wood Stork, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, and more. We also visit oak-scrub for Florida’s only endemic bird, the Florida Scrub-Jay.

With some luck, many of the sites we visit on this tour are alive with migrant songbirds, and there is always a chance for a vagrant from the Caribbean like a La Sagra’s Flycatcher or Western Spindalis to show up.

Tour Highlights

  • Bird the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale metropolitan area for exotic species from around the world, including Spot-breasted Oriole and Red-whiskered Bulbul
  • Immerse yourself in subtropical cypress domes, sawgrass prairies, pinelands, tropical hardwood hammocks, and mangrove swamps across South Florida
  • Find wonder and an incredible mix of species in Everglades National Park
  • Witness trees festooned with a lush variety of orchids, bromeliads, and other epiphytic plants at Big Cypress National Preserve
  • Explore Wakodahatchee Wetlands and Green Cay in search of Florida wetland specialties
  • Discover Jonathan Dickinson State Park, in search of Bald Eagle, Sandhill Crane, and Florida Scrub-Jay
  • Travel with an expert guide who lives right there in Miami

Photo credits: Banner: Black Skimmers by Carlos Sanchez; Prairie Warbler by Carlos Sanchez; Everglades National Park, Naturalist Journeys Stock; Great Blue Heron, Naturalist Journeys Stock; Bald Eagle by Rob Colyer; White-winged Parakeets by Carlos Sanchez; Brown Pelican by Rob Colyer; Mangrove Cuckoo by Carlos Sanchez; American Crocodile by Carlos Sanchez.