2022 SCHEDULE is coming soon! Mark your calendar for December 1-5, 2022 and get on the email list for notification of opening of registration in the fall.
Link to join the NORTH SHORE BIRDING FESTIVAL email list.
Descriptions of 2021 field trips and keynotes
12/2/2021: Thursday 
All field trips will follow COVID-19 precautions, as detailed on the Registration tab.
Trip 1. Sunrise Photography and Birding –Mostly driving, some walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Milton Heiberg (Tern Media) and Kathy Rigling (Orange Audubon Society). 6:00 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 10. Lake Apopka has remarkable opportunities to photograph sunrises from northwestern locations like Clay Island. Sunrise will occur at 7:06 a.m. on this date. It takes a while to drive on the dirt roads of the North Shore, so we will meet at the McDonald Canal Pavilion at 6:00 a.m. and drive through normally locked gates to the Clay Island observation tower overlooking beautiful Lake Apopka. After sunrise, we will bird and explore other areas of the North Shore. Your trip leaders will provide both photo and bird identification tips throughout the morning. See Trip 7 for possible sightings.
Trip 2. Waterfowl of the Lake Apopka North Shore – Mostly driving, some walking.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, 2850 Lust Rd, Apopka, FL 32703. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Chris Newton (Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society), Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours), Lauren DiBiccari (Cape May Banding Station) and Mary Soule (Orange Audubon Society). 7:30 a.m – 11:00 a.m.  Maximum participants: 16. We will traverse the canals, wetlands and shore of Lake Apopka in a rare opportunity to visit this birding hotspot on a day that the Drive is not open to the public.  We will focus on ducks and other waterfowl. Your trip leaders will point out field marks to identify each species and distinguish the often brightly colored and distinctly patterned drakes from the often plainer and not-always-so-easy-to-identify hens. Possible sightings include Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Wood Duck and Mottled Duck, seen in the North Shore wetlands throughout the year, plus overwintering ducks like Blue-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Northern Shoveler and less common Ruddy Duck, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, Green- winged Teal, Canvasback, Redhead and Lesser Scaup. We will see Common Gallinule, Purple Gallinule, American Coot and Pied-billed Grebe, along with Limpkin, American Bittern, Black-crowned Night-Heron and other wading birds on this morning trip. We may also turn up a Horned Grebe or Common Loon.
Trip 3. Neighborhood Lakes Scenic Trail & Trailhead – Accessible and inclusive outing – Walking (or wheelchair access), up to 2 1/2 miles roundtrip on paved multi-use trail.
Neighborhood Lakes, 26656 County Road 46A, Mount Plymouth. $30, no lunch. Leaders: Gallus Quigley (Lake County Parks & Trails) and Lorri Lilja (Orange Audubon Society). 8:00 a.m – 11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. Neighborhood Lakes Trailhead serves as the primary trailhead for the Neighborhood Lakes Scenic Trail and the soon to be completed Wekiva Trail. The trail and trailhead are in the Wekiva Watershed Protection Area and managed by Lake County with agreements from Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the St. Johns River Water Management District. The paved multi-use trail, when completed to Kelly Park, will be the crossroads between the regional West Orange Trail and Wekiva Trail. Habitat includes former flatwoods and marsh. Burrowing Owls were once seen here and Lake County recently installed 6 artificial burrows in hopes of restoring the population. The trail surface is smooth paved asphalt and is navigable by
wheelchairs/mobility equipment. Possible sightings include resident and overwintering songbirds.


Trip 4. Leader's Choice – Mostly driving, some walking.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, 2850 Lust Rd, Apopka, FL 32703. $30, no lunch included. Leaders: Chris Newton (Kissimmee Valley Audubon) and Kathy Rigling (Orange Audubon Society). 11:45 a.m – 4:00 p.m.  Maximum participants: 12.  We will traverse the canals, wetlands and shore of Lake Apopka in a rare opportunity to visit this birding hotspot on a day it is not open to the public. We will be in search of rarities. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 5. Afternoon on the Drive – Mostly driving, some walking.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, 2850 Lust Rd, Apopka, FL 32703. $30. Leaders: Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours), Lauren DiBiccari (Cape May Banding Station), Craig Watson (USFWS), Pamela Ford (Carolina Bird Club) and Mary Soule (Orange Audubon Society). 12:00 p.m – 4:00 p.m.  Maximum participants: 15. We will traverse the canals, wetlands and shore of Lake Apopka in a rare opportunity to visit this birding hotspot on a day it is not open to the public. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Thursday Keynote Speaker: Jeff Bouton – Raptors of Florida Rerun
On YouTube LIVE. Free. 7:00 p.m.‒8:00 p.m. 
Jeff Bouton (KOWA Sporting Optics) gave an informative talk on Florida Raptors for Bird Chats with Orange Audubon Society last year which will be re-aired with experts from the Florida Keys Hawkwatch online to answer your questions. View the program in advance to think of questions to ask. From the difficult to distinguish Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper's Hawk to kites, take the opportunity to learn raptor experts. To find the recording use this link. To view the program live, put Orange Audubon Society in the search field on YouTube. The program will pop up at 7pm Thursday and you can put your questions in the YouTube chat.
12/3/2021: Friday
Trip 6. Sunrise Photography and Birding – Mostly driving, some walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Jack Rogers (Valencia College) and Mark Hainen (Orange Audubon Society). 6:00 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 10. Lake Apopka has remarkable opportunities for sunrises from northern locations like Clay Island, and sunsets from Magnolia Park in Apopka and Newton Park in Winter Garden. Sunrise will occur at 7:06 a.m. on this date. Since it takes a while to drive on the dirt roads of the North Shore, we will meet at the McDonald Canal Pavilion at 6:00 a.m. and drive through normally locked gates to the Clay Island observation tower overlooking beautiful Lake Apopka. Your trip leaders will provide both photo and bird identification tips at sunrise and throughout the morning. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 7. Birding Lake Apopka North Shore – Mostly driving, some walking.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, 2850 Lust Rd, Apopka and McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora. $75, includes box lunch. Leaders: Chris Newton (Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society) and Kathy Rigling (Orange Audubon Society) with Luis Gles and Mariah Hryniewich in morning only. 7:00 a.m.‒4:00 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. The trip will traverse the canals and wetlands of the Lake Apopka North Shore in search of ducks and wading birds and then explore the North Shore’s sandy upland edge near Ranch Road. Possible sightings include Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, Wood Stork, Black-bellied and Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Wood Duck, Mottled Duck, Sora, American Bittern and Sandhill Crane, along with most of North America’s wading bird species and other waterfowl listed under Trip 5. Raptors usually seen are Osprey, Red-shouldered Hawk, Barn Owl, American Kestrel, Merlin and Peregrine Falcon. We are likely to see Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-throated, Yellow-rumped and Black-and-white warblers, American Redstart, Orange-crowned and Prairie warblers and Ovenbird. While most of our breeding Black-necked Stilts and Least Bitterns are on their more southerly wintering grounds, we'll be looking and listening for the few that are recorded each year on Christmas Bird Counts. Other possible sightings are Roseate Spoonbill, Black Skimmer and American Avocet. As many as 13 sparrow species are seen, including rarities like LeConte’s and Clay-colored. Western flycatcher species like Ash-throated and Vermillion are seen most years and Scissor-tailed, Least, Western, Cassin’s and Tropical have been seen. White-faced Ibis are out-of- range birds that are seen many years. Groove-billed Anis from the Southwest were seen each winter between 2015 and 2017, and a Smooth-billed Ani from South Florida was an exciting find in winter 2019. 
With such a large restoration area on the shore of Florida’s 4th largest lake, in the middle of the Florida peninsula, off-course rarities frequently show up. Past rarities have included Say’s Phoebe, Rough-legged Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Eurasian Kestrel, Wilson’s Phalarope, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Whooping Crane, White-cheeked Pintail and Ross’ Goose. With skilled leaders and many eyes, we will be searching for what has turned up. Lists from past festivals are posted at the bottom of the front page of the festival website.
Trip 8. Ferndale Preserve: Wintering Songbirds – Walking.
Ferndale Preserve, 19220 County Rd 455, Clermont, FL 34715. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Gallus Quigley (Lake County Parks and Trails) and Greg Gensheimer (Green Mountain Scenic Byway). 7:30 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. Ferndale Preserve is a 192-acre Lake County Preserve on the western shore of Lake Apopka, a few miles from Sugarloaf Mountain, the highest point in peninsular Florida. We will bird on foot from the parking lot to the lakeshore and back. With a mix of red maple-dominated wetlands, remnant oak hammocks, and other habitats in various stages of restoration, over 190 bird species have been recorded in the area. Possible sightings include wintering songbirds, like Painted Buntings and Ash-throated Flycatcher, and sparrows, like Savannah, Swamp, Vesper and Grasshopper. With luck, we may see Le Conte’s, Clay-colored and more of the 12 sparrow species known to winter in this area.
Trip 9. Wekiwa Springs Sandhill Specialties – Walking.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. $30, no lunch. Park entrance: $4 per single person, $6 for 2-8 people or free for Youth Camp overnight guest or annual pass holder. Leaders: Craig Watson (USFWS), Pamela Ford (Carolina Bird Club) and Brian Cammarano (Florida Keys Hawkwatch). 7:30 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. Wekiwa Springs State Park is a 7,000
acre state park that is considered one of the crown jewels of Florida’s award-winning state park system. This will be a walking trip. Possible sightings include pineland specialties, including Brown-headed Nuthatches, Bachman’s Sparrows, Eastern Towhees, Eastern Bluebirds, Pine Warblers, Red-headed Woodpeckers and overwintering songbirds.
Trip 10. Waterfowl of the Lake Apopka North Shore – Mostly driving, some walking.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, 2850 Lust Rd, Apopka, FL 32703. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: 
Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours), Lauren DiBiccari (Cape May Bird Observatory), David Hartgrove (Halifax Audubon Society) and Mary Soule (Orange Audubon Society). 7:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 14. We will traverse the canals, wetlands and shore of Lake Apopka, taking care not to get in the way of other visitors. For possible sightings see information for Trip 2.
Trip 11. Raptors of the North Shore – Mostly driving, a minimum of walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $30. Leaders: Luis Gles (Birding Ecotours), Mariah Hryniewich (Florida Keys Hawkwatch) and Mark Hainen (Orange Audubon Society). 12:30 p.m.‒4:00 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. The Lake Apopka North Shore, with marshes and grasslands that support rodents, gallinules and other prey, hosts many wintering and resident raptors (birds of prey). Possible sightings include Osprey and Bald Eagle plus American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Harrier, Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks. Other possible sightings include Short-tailed and Broad-winged Hawks. Past rarities have included Krider’s Red-Tailed Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Eurasian Kestrel and Golden Eagle.
Trip 12. Birding by Kayak – Paddling.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. Meet at the canoe and kayak launch near the spring at Wekiwa Springs State Park. Trip fee: $15. Each participant will rent a canoe or kayak from the concessionaire – $35 plus tax for 3 hours. You can also bring your own. Park entrance: $4 per single person, $6 for 2-8 people or free for Youth Camp overnight guest or annual pass holder. Leaders: Brian Cammarano (Florida Keys Hawkwatch),
Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours) and Lauren DiBiccari (Cape May Bird Observatory). 12:30 p.m.‒3:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 14. The Wekiva River is a beautiful federally designated Wild and Scenic River. Possible sightings include Limpkin, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk, Common Yellowthroat, and other wetland and water birds.
Trip 13. Caracara Quest in E. Seminole County – Some walking.
C.S. Lee Park, 4600 E State Road 46, Geneva, FL 32732. $30. Leaders: Scott Simmons (Learn Outdoor Photography) and Lorri Lilja (Orange Audubon Society). 12:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. The Little Big Econ State Forest includes the 1,646-acre Kilbee Tract, which abuts the St. Johns River near its confluence with the Econlockhatchee River. Caracaras have been seen in the area so the group will split up to check two locations, then reunite. You will be emailed your exact start location. Possible sightings include Crested Caracara, Bald Eagle, Wilson’s Snipe, and wintering songbirds.
Trip 14. Scrub-Jays and other Pineland Species – Some walking (sandy surfaces).
Seminole State Forest, south entrance, turn north off SR 46 just west of Wekiva River bridge, approximately 14 miles west of Sanford. $30. Leaders: Ralph Risch (Florida Division of Forestry) and Gigi DelPizzo (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). 1:00 p.m.‒4:00 p.m. Maximum participants: 10. The endemic Florida Scrub-Jay is restricted to Florida’s ever- decreasing sand pine scrub habitat. The 25,812-acre Seminole State Forest hosts the nearest relatively stable population of this friendly and charismatic bird. After everyone gets up close and personal with scrub-jays, the group will search for other species throughout the afternoon. Note that the trip location may be changed to adjacent Rock Springs Run State Reserve if none of the participants have a four-wheel drive vehicle and participants do not choose to carpool. Possible sightings include Sandhill Crane, Wild Turkey, Eastern Towhee, Eastern Bluebird and pineland specialties such as Bachman’s Sparrow, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Brown-headed Nuthatch.
Friday Keynote, Dinner: “BIODIVERSITY—A Photographer’s Perspective” by Reinier Munguia. Presenter: Reinier Munguia. Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712, in the Dining Hall. $25 regular, $15 college student and youth up to 18, plus park entrance fee ($4 [single]-$6 [up to 8]). 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. Talk at 5:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 50. Dinner catered by Krazy Greek Kitchen. Take a peek through the viewfinder and explore the importance of biodiversity through the eyes of a nature photographer. We’ll visit some of the most important biodiversity hotspots to experience the wonders of nature. From leaf-cutter ants in the Amazon to the scrub-jays in Florida, this program explores the importance of all species, big and small.
Trip 15. Owls and Woodcocks – Walking.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. Meet at Sand Lake parking lot (end of park road). $30, plus park entrance: $4 per single person, $6 for 2-8 people or free for Youth Camp overnight guest or annual pass holder. 5:45 p.m.‒7:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. Leaders: Chris Newton (Kissimmee Valley Audubon) and Kathy Rigling (Orange Audubon Society). Enter the park and pay fee at gate before 5 p.m. closing time. You can drive to the Youth Camp and check out both Redstart Birding’s optics sales and Orange Audubon’s T-shirt sales and visit with other birders. If you are eating dinner with us in the Dining Hall (reservations required), please choose a seat near the door so you can leave in time to drive to the Sand Lake parking lot to meet the group. Or enter the park and drive directly to the Sand Lake parking lot (end of the main park road). Walk starts at 5:45 p.m. at the Sand Lake parking lot. Possible sightings include American Woodcock, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl and Eastern Screech Owl, as well as Flying Squirrels.
Trip 15a. Owls and Woodcocks – Walking.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. Meet at Sand Lake parking lot (end of park road). $30, plus park entrance: $4 per single person, $6 for 2-8 people or free for Youth Camp overnight guest or annual pass holder. 5:45 p.m.‒7:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. Leaders: 
Luis Gles (Birding Ecotours), Mariah Hryniewich (Florida Keys Hawkwatch) and Brian Cammarano (Florida Keys Hawkwatch). See Trip 15 for more details.
Trip 16. Wekiwa Flashlight Tram Ride – Driving.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. Meet in the parking lot near the Dining Hall. If you are eating dinner with us in the Dining Hall, please choose a seat near the door so you can leave in time. $30, $15 college student, $10 youth, up to 17 years; plus park entrance fee ($4 [single]-$6 [up to 8]). 6:00 p.m.‒7:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 20. Leader: Park Biologist/Ranger. Join a special evening tram tour through pristine sandhill to discover the habitats, wildlife, history and wonders of Wekiwa Springs State Park after dark.  Nocturnal birds, deer and other mammals will be seen or heard. Please bring a small cushion or pillow -- road may be bumpy in some places, a flashlight of any color, and dress for the weather. Your guide says, above all, come prepared with a sense of wonder and anticipation. Possible sightings include Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl and Eastern Screech Owl, White-tailed Deer, Raccoon, and Opossum.
Trip 17. Get to Know the Night Sky – Minimal walking, standing. Bring a folding chair.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. Meet at the Sand Lake Parking Lot at the end of the main park road. $30 plus park entrance: $4 per single person, $6 for 2-8 people or free for Youth Camp overnight guest or annual pass holder. 7:45 p.m.‒ 9:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 20. Leader: Derek Demeter (Seminole State College Planetarium Director). Derek does a fantastic survey of the planets and constellations using a laser pointer. A colleague may bring a telescope, and the group will rotate through the telescope station to look at some of the planets and closer nebulae. Suitable for families with interested older children who can register for half-price college student rate. This trip assumes you have entered the park by closing time, 5 p.m.and may hike and bird on your own or sign up for and enjoy the keynote with dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and/or join Trip 15 or 16 which end at 7:30 p.m. No worries if you get to Sand Lake a little late, as the stars become more visible as the evening progresses. The park gate will open automatically for exit. Note that this trip is set up with a low visibility rain date of Saturday same time. Derek will notify festival coordinators by one day in advance if we will be switching to Saturday. Your reservations for earlier activities can also be transferred if space permits.
12/4/2021: Saturday
Trip 18. Sunrise Photography and Birding – Mostly driving, some walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Reinier Munguia (Wildstock Photos), Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours), Lauren DiBiccari (Cape May Bird Observatory) and Kathy Rigling (Orange Audubon Society). 6:00 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 10. See Trip 1 for trip description. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 19. Birding by Ear – Walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Brian Cammarano (Florida Keys Hawkwatch) and Jeffrey Gammon (Orange Audubon Society). 6:00 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. This walking field workshop will focus on recognizing birds by their sounds. In Florida birds are not as vocal in December as they are in breeding season, but there are still vocalizations that can help with identification. The early morning start time may allow us to hear owls and see and hear American Woodcocks. Trip tip: To get a head start on this walk, download the Merlin app for your phone and explore the Sound recognition feature. Also review sounds posted on the website of Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Particularly review sounds of Common Gallinule, Red-winged Blackbird and Boat-tailed Grackle, as these are our most vocal wetland species. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 20. Birding by Ear – Walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Scott Simmons (Learn Outdoor Photography) and Larry Martin (Orange Audubon Society). 6:00 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. Identical to Trip 19 but with different leaders and walking in a different direction at the McDonald Canal area. See trip 19 for hints for preparing for the trip. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 20a. Birding by Ear – Walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $45, includes box lunch. Natasza Fontaine (Audubon Florida), and Robert Gundy (Florida Natural Areas Inventory). 6:00 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. Identical to Trip 19 and 20 but with different leaders and walking in a different direction at the McDonald Canal area. See trip 19 for hints for preparing for the trip. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 21. Early Birding the Lake Apopka North Shore, all day – Mostly driving, some walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $75, includes box lunch. Leaders: Luis Gles (Birding Ecotours), Mariah Hryniewich (Florida Keys Hawkwatch), Brian Cammarano (Florida Keys Hawkwatch), Craig Watson (USFWS), Pamela Ford (Carolina Bird Club) and Mark Hainen (Orange Audubon Society). 6:00 a.m.‒3:00 p.m. Note early start time. Maximum participants: 12. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 22. Leader's Choice, Rarity Chase, Morning – Mostly driving, some walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Chris Newton (Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society) and Lorri Lilja (Orange Audubon Society). 7:00 a.m.‒11:30 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. This morning trip's participants will look for rarities at the discretion of trip leaders. Note: This trip may involve driving up to 40 minutes from the meeting site to see a particular rarity. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 23. Green Mountain Trail Hiking and Birding – Walking, approximately 4 miles.
Green Mountain Scenic Overlook and Trailhead, 20700 County Road 455, Montverde. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Greg Gensheimer (Green Mountain Scenic Byway) and Gigi DelPizzo (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). 7:30 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. This trip will start from the Green Mountain Overlook, sitting 132’ above sea level on the west side of Lake Apopka, with a view of Lake Apopka and the Lake Apopka North Shore Restoration Area, just a short distance from Sugarloaf Mountain (the highest point in peninsular Florida at 312’). The trail, part of the state-designated Green Mountain Scenic Byway, connects to the Lake Apopka Loop Trail. We will hike several miles looking for passerines in the oak hammock and other birds. Possible sightings include Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-throated, Yellow-rumped and Black-and-white warblers, American Redstart, Orange-crowned and Prairie warblers, Ovenbird, various sparrows and other songbirds.
Trip 23a. NEW! Florida Scrub-jay Trail and Clermont Birding Hotspots – Some walking (sandy surfaces).
Florida Scrub-Jay Trail, 11490 Montevista Road, Clermont, FL 34711. $30, no lunch included. Leaders: John Thomton (Orange Audubon Society), Bruce and Cathy Brown (Florida Scrub-Jay Trail) and Beck Smith (Archaeopteryx Tours). 8:00 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. Years ago, Bruce and Cathy Brown discovered some Florida Scrub-Jays using their plant nursery. They founded the Scrub Jay Trail as a place for people to get outside and enjoy nature, and to learn about the endangered Florida Scrub ecosystem. Bruce and Cathy will bird with us and share how they developed the Trail. Then we will hit some other birding hotspots in the Clermont area: Country roads south of Mascotte, Lake Hiawatha Park for woodland and marshland birds, and will scope Lake Minneola for diving ducks, grebes and possibly loons.
Possible sightings include Sandhill Crane, Common Ground-Dove, Wild Turkey, Northern Bobwhite, Eastern Meadowlark, Red-headed Woodpecker, Purple Gallinule, Northern Flicker, Horned Grebe, Common Loon, Vermillion Flycatcher (seen on last year’s Clermont CBC) and Florida Scrub-Jay . 
Trip 24. Photo Evaluation One-on-One – Indoor Workshop
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. In Dining Hall. $15 Regular and $7.50 for college students or Youth under 18, plus park entrance fee ($4 [single]-$6 [up to 8]. Leader: Marina Scarr. 8:00 a.m.‒4:10 p.m. Maximum participants: 12 in individual half-hour slots. 6 more slots available on Sunday (Trip 40). Spend 30 minutes with Marina Scarr who will review your images, provide tips to improve your field techniques, post-processing and cropping and help you determine which images are/are not contest-worthy and why.  You may submit your 10-20 images to Orange Audubon Society following procedures provided upon registration or bring them on your own laptop or tablet. 
Trip 25. Leader's Choice, Rarity Chase, Afternoon – Mostly driving, some walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $30. Leaders: Chris Newton (Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society) and John Thomton (Orange Audubon Society). 12:30 p.m.‒4:00 p.m.  Maximum participants: 12. Note: This trip may involve driving up to 40 minutes from the meeting site to see a particular rarity. It is not a continuation of the morning Leader’s Choice trip —may involve visiting the same sites. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 26. Birding for Millennials and Others – Mostly driving, some walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $30. Leaders: Natasza Fontaine (Audubon Florida), Robert Gundy (Florida Natural Areas Inventory), and Deborah Green (Orange Audubon Society). 12:30 p.m.‒4:00 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. On this afternoon trip, we will bird the Lake Apopka North Shore. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 27. Youth and Family Photo Field Trip – Walking.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. Meet at the Sand Lake parking lot at the end of the main park road. $5/child under 17+ $10 for accompanying adult plus park entrance: $4 per single person, $6 for 2-8 people or free for Youth Camp overnight guest or annual pass holder. Leaders: Cindy Monell (Orange Audubon Society) and Lee Ann Posavad (Orange Audubon Society) . 12:30 p.m.‒4:00 p.m. Maximum participants: 15. Possible sightings include pineland specialties, including Brown-headed Nuthatches, Bachman’s Sparrows, Eastern Towhees, Eastern Bluebirds, Pine Warblers, Red-headed Woodpeckers and overwintering songbirds.
Trip 28. Southwest Volusia County Specialties – Walking.
Lyonia Preserve, 2150 Eustace Avenue, Deltona, FL 32725. $30. Leaders: Luddy Lambertson (West Volusia Audubon Society) and Joan Tague (Halifax River Audubon Society). 12:30 p.m.‒4:00 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. The Lyonia Preserve and Audubon Park in Deltona are great birding locations within a forty-minute drive from Apopka. Possible sightings: Florida Scrub-Jay, Eastern Towhee, and other scrub species, plus Wilson’s Snipe, Marsh Wren, Sedge Wren and other wetland species.
Trip 29. PEAR Park Wildlife Conservation AreaWalking.
PEAR Park Wildlife Conservation Area, 4800 University Ave., Leesburg, FL 34748. $30. Leaders: Gallus Quigley (Lake County Parks & Trails) and Kathy Rigling (Orange Audubon Society)  12:30 p.m.‒4:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. Meet at Nature Center. PEAR Park is 268-acre wildlife conservation area made up of scrub and sandhill restoration. Possible sightings include wintering songbirds and sparrows, like Savannah, Swamp, White-crowned, Vesper and Grasshopper. With luck, we may see Le Conte’s, Lincoln’s, Clay-colored and more of the 12 wintering sparrows.
Trip 30. Techniques for Successful Nature Photography Workshop – Classroom session. Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. Meet in the Rec Hall. $75, price includes field session (Trip 37) Sunday morning. Additional charge is park admission each day ($4 [single]-$6 [up to 8]) car park admission. Leaders: Reinier Munguia (Wildstock Photos) and Nyleen Rodriguez (Lake Region Audubon Society). 12:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Maximum participants: 16. Topics include how to improve your images through the use of best techniques, gear selection, solve problems in the field, and see nature from a documentary perspective. 

Saturday Keynote, Dinner: “Invaders, Vagrants, & Rarities” by Alex Lamoreaux. Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712, in the Dining Hall. $25, plus park entrance fee ($4 [single]-$6 [up to 8]). 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.  Talk at 5:15 p.m. Maximum participants: 50. Keller's Real Smoked Bar-B-Q dinner with vegan chili and other options.
Trip 31. Owls and Woodcocks – Walking.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. Meet at Sand Lake parking lot (end of park road). $30, plus park entrance: $4 per single person, $6 for 2-8 people or free for Youth Camp overnight guest or annual pass holder. 5:45 p.m.‒7:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. Leaders: Chris Newton (Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society), Natasza Fontaine (Audubon Florida) and Robert Gundy (FNAI). Enter the park and pay fee at gate before 5 p.m. closing time. You can drive to the Youth Camp and check out both Redstart Birding’s optics sales and Orange Audubon’s T-shirt sales and visit with other birders. If you are eating dinner with us in the Dining Hall (reservations required), please choose a seat near the door so you can leave in time to drive to the Sand Lake parking lot to meet the group. Or enter the park and drive directly to the Sand Lake parking lot (end of the main park road). Walk starts at 5:45 p.m. at the Sand Lake parking lot. Possible sightings include American Woodcock, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl and Eastern Screech Owl, as well as Flying Squirrels.
Trip 31a. Owls and Woodcocks – Walking.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. Meet at Sand Lake parking lot (end of park road). $30, plus park entrance: $4 per single person, $6 for 2-8 people or free for Youth Camp overnight guest or annual pass holder. 5:45 p.m.‒7:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. Leaders: 
 Luis Gles (Florida Keys Hawkwatch), Mariah Hryniewich (Florida Keys Hawkwatch) and Brian Cammarano (Florida Keys Hawkwatch). See Trip 31 for more details.
12/5/2021: Sunday
Trip 32. Ocala National Forest Woodpecker Extravaganza – Walking.
Clearwater Lake Recreation Area, 24511 Co Rd 42, Paisley, FL 32767. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Gallus Quigley (Lake County Parks and Trails) and Beck Smith (Archaeopteryx Tours). 6:00 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. The well-burned pine forests of the Ocala National Forest host all species of woodpecker that breed or winter in Florida. Possible sightings: The target species will be the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker, but we will also search for Red-headed, Red-bellied, Pileated, Downy, and Hairy Woodpeckers, as well as Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and Northern Flickers. We should also find Brown-headed Nuthatches and Bachman’s Sparrows, specialties of well-burned Southern pine land, and possibly other sparrows and winter songbirds.
Trip 34. Early Birding the Lake Apopka North Shore, half day – Mostly driving, some walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Gian Basili (USFWS), Craig Watson (USFWS) and Pamela Ford (Carolina Bird Club). 6:30 a.m.‒12:00 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 35. Birding the Lake Apopka North Shore, half day – Mostly driving, some walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Chris Newton (Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society) with Natasza Fontaine (Audubon Florida) and Robert Gundy (Florida Natural Areas Inventory). 7:00 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. The group will look for overwintering Grasshopper Sparrows and various rarities on the North Shore. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 36. Bird Banding at Lake Lotus Park – Some walking.
Lake Lotus Park, 1153 Lake Lotus Park Road, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714. $30, no lunch included. Leader: Andrew Boyle (Wekiva Bird Banding Station), Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours), and Lauren DiBiccari (Cape May Banding Station). 7:00 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 15. The Wekiva Bird Banding Station began in the 1990s, and now operates at Lake Lotus Park, a 150-acre park in Altamonte Springs. Over 75 species have been banded since the program began at Lake Lotus Park, with over 2,500 individual birds processed. Master bander Andrew Boyle will demonstrate banding and explain what the station’s studies have shown about migration patterns and life cycles of the birds. Depending on how many birds we capture, participants may be able to hold a bird after it gets banded to release it! Check out the Wekiva Basin blog for more information at wekivaband.blogspot.com.
Trip 37. Field Photo Workshop – Mostly driving.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, 2850 Lust Rd, Apopka, FL 32703. Meet just inside entrance gate at Welcome shelter on the left.  This is part two of Trip 30, Techniques for Successful Nature Photography Workshop and you will have paid for it in registering for Trip 30. Includes box lunch. Leaders: Reinier Munguia (Wildstock Photos) and Nyleen Rodriguez (Lake Region Audubon Society), with Jack Horton (Orange Audubon Society). 7:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.  Maximum participants: 16. Local expert Jack Horton will lead the group out of the way of weekend traffic on the Wildlife Drive to a spot where participants can practice techniques learned in Reinier's classroom workshop Saturday afternoon. 
Trip 38. Emeralda Marsh: Waterfowl and Sparrows – Mostly walking, some driving.
Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area, 36645 Emeralda Island Road Leesburg, FL 34788. $30, no lunch. Leaders: Lorri Lilja (Orange Audubon Society) and Bob Wexler (Oklawaha Valley Audubon Society). 7:30 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. Emeralda Marsh, on the eastern side of Lake Griffin near the headwaters of the Ocklawaha River, spanned 10,000+ acres before being utilized for farming. The St. Johns River Water Management District acquired approximately half of this current-day 6,577-acre area for restoration in 1991. We will first bird Area 3, the 4.5-mile round-trip wildlife drive, from the comfort of our vehicles. Possible sightings include Northern Harriers, ducks and waders including American Bittern. Rare birds in the area have included Ash- throated Flycatcher, Snail Kite and White-faced Ibis. After birding the wildlife drive and having lunch, we will explore Area 2 and possibly Areas 6 and 7 for LeConte's and Grasshopper Sparrows, Painted Buntings and more ducks.
Trip 39. Oakland Nature Preserve and Newton Park – Walking.
Oakland Nature Preserve, 747 Machete Trail, Oakland, FL 34760. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: David Simpson (Birding with David Simpson) and Kathy Rigling (Orange Audubon Society). 8:00 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 10. The Preserve encompasses 128 acres of land—48 acres of uplands and 80 acres of forested wetlands—and includes a boardwalk to Lake Apopka. Habitat restoration continues to improve the wetlands, uplands and meadows to increase biodiversity of fish, birds and other animals. After taking a birding walk at the preserve, we will stop by Newton Park in Winter Garden. This park on the south shore of Lake Apopka has become a birding hotspot. Possible Sightings: Yellow-breasted Chat, Grasshopper Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, American Kestrel, Merlin, Snail Kites, Purple Gallinules and overwintering ducks. 
Trip 39a. Orlando Wetlands Park – Walking
Orlando Wetlands Park, 25155 Wheeler Road, Christmas, FL 32709. $30, no lunch. Leaders: Reinhard Geisler (Orlando Wetlands Park Volunteer), Jutta Geisler (Orlando Wetlands Park Volunteer) and Brian Cammarano (Florida Keys Hawkwatch). 8:00 a.m.‒11:30 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. The Orlando Wetlands Park is a man-made wetland designed to provide advanced treatment for reclaimed water from the City of Orlando and other local cities. Located in Christmas, in the far eastern part of Orange County, the park is 1,650 acres in size and has 21 miles of criss-crossing berm trails. It has become a wildlife haven and birding hot-spot. Possible sightings include Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Black- bellied Whistling-Duck, Roseate Spoonbill, Limpkin, and Purple Gallinule. 
Trip 40. Photo Evaluation One-on-One – Indoor Workshop
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. In Dining Hall. $15 Regular and $7.50 for college students or Youth under 18, plus park entrance fee ($4 [single]-$6 [up to 8]. Leader: Marina Scarr. 8:00 a.m.‒11:35 a.m. Maximum participants: 6 in individual 30 hour slots. Spend 30 minutes with Marina Scarr who will review your images, provide tips to improve your field techniques, post-processing and cropping and help you determine which images are/are not contest-worthy and why.  You may submit your 10-20 images to Orange Audubon Society following procedures provided upon registration or bring them on your own laptop or tablet.  
Trip 41. Birding for Millennials and Others – Mostly driving, some walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $30. Leaders: Luis Gles (Birding Ecotours), Mariah Hryniewich (Florida Keys Hawkwatch), and Deborah Green (Orange Audubon Society). 12:30 p.m.‒4:00 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. On this afternoon trip, we will bird the Lake Apopka North Shore. 
Possible sightings: See Trip 7.

Trip 42. Digiscoping – Mostly driving, a minimum of walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $30. Leader: Mary Soule (Orange Audubon Society). 12:30 p.m.‒4:00 p.m.  Maximum participants: 4.  Learn how to take great photos through a spotting scope. Digiscoping—attaching a camera or smart phone to a spotting scope—minimizes impact on wildlife with extended focal lengths and eliminates the challenge of manual focus. Bring your own scope or share those Jeff will bring from Kowa Optics, one of our festival sponsors. Email festival@orangeaudubonfl.org to let us know you will need to use a loaner during the trip. Possible sightings: Wading birds are great subjects on which to focus, and Red-shouldered Hawks and Ospreys often perch cooperatively.
Trip 43. Recording What You See: eBirding and Checklists – Mostly driving, some walking.
McDonald Canal Pavilion, 24600 CR 448A, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $30. Leaders: Chris Newton (Kissimmee Valley Audubon) and David Simpson (Birding with David Simpson). 12:30 p.m.‒4:00 p.m. Maximum participants: 10. On this afternoon field trip from the McDonald Canal Pavilion into various Lake Apopka North Shore locations, you will find many species of birds and learn how to record your sightings on eBird and achieve recognition for levels of Florida birding achievement. Possible sightings: See Trip 7
Trip 44. Youth and Family Birding – Some walking.
NEW! Trip now opened up to regular festival participants. The Bronzed Cowbird is back! Newton Park, 31 W Garden Ave. Winter Garden, FL 34787. $5/child under 17+ $10 for accompanying adult, $20 for regular participant. Leaders: Kathy Rigling (Orange Audubon Society) and Susan Thome-Barrett  (Orange Audubon Society). 1:30 p.m. ‒3:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 15, including accompanying parents. An inexpensive and fun way to introduce young people to birding or improve their birding skills. Newton Park is an easy place to observe birds. Possible sightings: Bronzed Cowbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, Purple Gallinules, Snail Kites, Limpkin, Pied-billed Grebes, and winter ducks.
Trip 44a. NEW! Dora Canal Birding Afternoon Boat Ride – Boating. Rusty Anchor - Dora Canal Tours, 400 W. 4th Avenue, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $45, includes boat ride. Leader: David Hartgrove (Halifax River Audubon Society). 2:30 p.m.‒4:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 17. Travel with Captain Scott in his 38-foot pontoon boat across Lake Dora into the Dora Canal and back, with David identifying birds and sharing information about them. Possible sightings include overwintering Ruddy Ducks, Wood Ducks, Bald Eagles, Ospreys and Great Blue Herons, Limpkins, other wading birds, and wintering songbirds.
Trip 45. Sunset Photography and Birding – Some walking.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, 2850 Lust Rd., Apopka, FL 32703. $30. Leaders: Steve Coleman (Sunsets by Steven) and Jack Horton (Orange Audubon Society). 4:00 p.m.‒6:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 12. Lake Apopka has remarkable opportunities for sunsets. On this date sunset will occur at 5:30 p.m. and the earlier start time will allow set up. Bring bug spray. Your trip leaders will provide both photo and bird identification tips. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 46. Black Rail Quest at St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge – Walking (1/2 mile round trip, possibly wet to muddy conditions on vegetated path, flashlights or headlamps recommended). 
St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge on SR 50 west of Titusville. GPS: 28°33'3.40"N, 80°53'20.11"W. $30. Leaders: Mike Legare (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service), Craig Watson (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service) and Brian Cammarano (Black Rail surveyor for Florida Gulf Coast University). 4:30 p.m.‒6:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 20. The St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge is over 6,000 acres and was established in 1971 to protect the now extinct Dusky Seaside Sparrow. This little-known refuge is not open to the public. Mike Legare, refuge biologist, will lead a small group to an area where secretive marsh birds such as the Black Rail are known to occur. The Eastern Black Rail has been recently listed as a Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act and appears to be a species affected by climate change and coastal development.  
Possible sightings: Other secretive marsh birds such as Least Bittern, King Rail, Virginia Rail, and Sora, herons, egrets, night-herons, Marsh and Sedge wrens.  
Trip 47. Dora Canal Birding Sunset Boat Ride – Boating. Rusty Anchor - Dora Canal Tours, 400 W. 4th Avenue, Mount Dora, FL 32757. $45, includes boat ride. Leader: Gigi DelPizzo (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). 4:30 p.m.‒6:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 17. Travel with Captain Scott in his 38-foot pontoon boat across Lake Dora into the Dora Canal and back, with Gigi identifying birds and sharing information about them. Possible sightings include overwintering Ruddy Ducks, Wood Ducks, Bald Eagles, Ospreys and Great Blue Herons, Limpkins, other wading birds, and wintering songbirds.
Trip 48. Owls and Woodcocks – Walking. Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. $30, plus park entrance fee ($4 [single]-$6 [up to 8]). Leaders: Luis Gles (Birding Ecotours), Mariah Hryniewich (Florida Keys Hawkwatch), Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours) and Lauren DiBiccari (Cape May Banding Station). 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 16. On this date sunset will occur at 5:30 p.m. Enter the park and pay fee at gate by 5 p.m. closing time and drive directly to the Sand Lake parking lot. Note earlier start time than Trips 15 and 31 which follow the Keynote Dinner. Walk starts at 5:30 p.m.at the Sand Lake parking lot. Possible sightings include American Woodcock, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl and Eastern Screech Owl, as well as Flying Squirrels.
12/6/2021: Monday
Trip 49. Pine Meadows: Sparrows, Buntings, & Other Wintering Songbirds – Walking.
Pine Meadows Conservation Area, 2280 Pine Meadows Golf Course Rd, Eustis, FL 32726. $30, no lunch. Leaders: Gallus Quigley (Lake County Parks and Trails) and Gigi DelPizzo (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission). 7:30 a.m.‒11:00 a.m. Maximum participants: 12. Pine Meadows Conservation Area is a 770-acre Lake County conservation area with open water, wetlands, wet meadow and a small upland area of pine flatwoods. Habitat restoration continues to improve the wetlands, uplands and meadows to increase biodiversity of fish, birds and other animals. Possible sightings: Nearly 120 bird species have been seen, including the Henslow’s Sparrow and Bald Eagle. 
Trip 50. Best of Birding the Lake Apopka North Shore – Mostly driving, some walking.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, 2850 Lust Rd, Apopka, FL 32703. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Sam Mitcham (Orange Audubon Society), Luis Gles (Birding Ecotours),  Mariah Hryniewich (Florida Keys Hawkwatch) and Brian Cammarano (Florida Keys Hawkwatch)  7:30 a.m.‒11:30 a.m. Maximum participants: 16. This half-day trip will focus on the best birds seen on the Lake Apopka North Shore trips in the previous three days. Possible sightings: See Trip 7.
Trip 51. Wekiwa Springs Sandhill Specialties – Walking.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712. Leaders will coordinate early entry to the park and collect park admission. Park entrance: $4 per single person, $6 for 2-8 people or free for Youth Camp overnight guest or annual pass holder. $30, no lunch. Leader: Paul Lammardo (Wekiwa Springs State Park). 7:30 a.m.‒ 11:30 a.m. Maximum participants: 8. Wekiwa Springs State Park is a 7,000-acre state park that is considered one of the crown jewels of Florida’s award-winning state park system. This will be a walking trip. Possible sightings include pineland specialties, including Brown-headed Nuthatches, Bachman’s Sparrows, Eastern Towhees, Eastern Bluebirds, Pine Warblers, Red-headed Woodpeckers, and overwintering songbirds.
Trip 52. Joe Overstreet Road and Osceola Hotspots – Mostly driving, some walking. Lake Kissimmee Swamp Tours, 4500 Joe Overstreet Rd., Kenansville, FL 34739. $30, no lunch. Leaders: Chris Newton (Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society) and Lorri Lilja (Orange Audubon Society). 8:00 a.m.‒12:00 p.m. Maximum participants: 14. Possible sightings include Crested Caracara, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Eastern Meadowlarks, Northern Bobwhite, Snail Kite, and Bald Eagles.
Trip 53. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge – Mostly driving, some walking.
Parrish Park, 1 A Max Brewer Causeway, Titusville, FL 32796. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: Mitchell Harris (Space Coast Audubon Society), Craig Watson (USFWS), Pamela Ford (Carolina Bird Club). 8:00 a.m.‒1:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 13. You will pay on your own the $10.00 fee for entry into Black Point Wildlife Drive. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is consistently rated as one of the top birding destinations in the United States with 357 species recorded. The refuge has one of three important populations of the threatened Florida Scrub-Jay. Possible sightings include Hairy Woodpecker, American Avocet, Roseate Spoonbill, and overwintering shorebirds and ducks. Your trip leaders include Brevard County birders and will take us to the best spots. As you are already near I-95, this trip can be conveniently taken in combination with afternoon Trip 56, which is straight up I-95 in Daytona Beach Shores.
Trip 54. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge – Mostly driving, some walking.
Parrish Park, 1 A Max Brewer Causeway, Titusville, FL 32796. $45, includes box lunch. Leaders: David Simpson (Birding with David Simpson) and Mary Soule (Orange Audubon Society ). 8:00 a.m.‒1:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 13. For possible sightings, see Trip 53.
Trip 55. Orlando Wetlands Park – Part walking, part tram ride.
Orlando Wetlands Park, 25155 Wheeler Road, Christmas, FL 32709. $30, no lunch. Leaders: Karen Hamblett (Orlando Wetlands Park Volunteer), Alex Lamoreaux (Wildside Nature Tours), Lauren DiBiccari (Cape May Bird Observatory) and Larry Martin (Orange Audubon Society). 8:30 a.m.‒11:30 a.m. Maximum participants: 20. The Orlando Wetlands Park is a man-made wetland designed to provide advanced treatment for reclaimed water from the City of Orlando and other local cities. Located in Christmas, in the far eastern part of Orange County, the park is 1,650 acres in size and has 21 miles of criss-crossing berm trails. It has become a wildlife haven and birding hot-spot. In this trip we will first walk and bird and then at 10 a.m. board two 10-person trams to allow exporation of parts of the park too far for walking. Possible sightings include Northern Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Roseate Spoonbill, Limpkin, and Purple Gallinule. As you are already in easternmost Orange County, near I- 95, this trip can be conveniently taken in combination with afternoon Trip 56, which is straight up I-95 in Daytona Beach Shores.
Trip 56. Gull Congregation at Daytona Beach Shores – Some walking.
Frank Rendon Park, 2705 S Atlantic Ave, Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118-5701. $30. Leaders: Michael Brothers (Florida Ornithological Society) with Mitchell Harris (Space Coast Audubon Society). 3:00 p.m.‒5:30 p.m. Maximum participants: 18.  Daytona Beach Shores, about an hour northeast of Lake Apopka, hosts an amazing birding spectacle each late afternoon and evening during the winter months. Gulls from the northeastern U.S. and Canada winter here, feeding during the day at Daytona Beach’s Tomoka Regional Landfill. Tens of thousands of gulls fly for the evening to the beach at Daytona Beach Shores. After gathering (staging) on the beach, close enough to be identified, the gulls move at dusk to settle beyond the breakers offshore. Fast-flying Pomerine and Parastic Jaegers try to pick off the less aware individuals. Michael Brothers, gull expert and retired director of the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, discovered this amazing phenomenon over 10 years ago and has been monitoring the gulls every winter evening since. Possible sightings include Laughing, Ring-billed, Herring and Great Black-backed gulls are common, with Bonaparte’s and Lesser Black-backed gulls also expected. Glaucous, Iceland, Thayer’s, Franklin's, Heermann's and California gulls are also possible. Vega, European Herring, Yellow-legged and Slaty-backed gulls are rarities that have turned up.



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