Birding

A family of sandhill cranes at Circle B Bar Reserve, Lakeland, Fl. Photo by Matthew Paulson, PhotoMatt28 via Flickr.

Circle B Bar Reserve: Park in Lakeland is more than a birding hot spot

Twenty minutes off I-4 between Orlando and Tampa, there is a little-known wildlife preserve that one visitor calls “a free safari.” It attracts thousands of migrating birds in winter, but it has more to offer than just excellent birding.

Ducks

Birds hold court at Wakodahatchee Preserve & Green Cay

DELRAY BEACH — Amid a sea of subdivisions, you’ll find a pair of man-made wetlands where you will encounter extraordinary wildlife viewing from strategically placed boardwalks — wildlife preserves that are especially lively during the fall and spring bird migrations.

Kayaks on the beach at Cayo Costa

Cayo Costa island: A remote, romantic getaway that is wild Florida at its best

This wild island on the Gulf coast is never crowded — it’s too hard to get there. For those who drive to Pineland on Pine Island and then take the hour-long ferry to the state park, the rewards are many: Nine miles of perfect beaches, shaded jungle-like trails and wildlife that includes osprey nests, dolphins, stringrays and all sorts of bird and sea life.

Near the north end of the beach at Lovers Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

Lovers Key State Park: Great beach plus kayaking, manatees & birds

It’s not the best known destination in southwest Florida, but there are a lot reasons that make Lovers Key State Park so lovable: A 2.5 mile beach lined with natural vegetation that is perfect for beachcombing and bird watching, and mangrove-lined waterways that are draws for both manatees and kayakers.

Amber waves of sawgrass

Hike ‘til you drop, and then hike back

A seemingly endless hike deep into the Everglades awaits you along the levee on the southern boundary of the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge..

Graceful white pelicans over Merritt Island. Photo courtesy John Young

Where to see white pelicans, spectacular birds wintering in Florida

White pelicans migrate to Florida in winter by the thousands. They are the sort of big, dramatic birds that even folks who don’t consider themselves birders will enjoy spotting.

Fort Jefferson and Bush Island (Photo by Ron Yeany)

Getting way away: Dry Tortugas National Park

This isolated cluster of islands 70 miles west of Key West is accessible only by boat or seaplane. But treasures await you, especially if you camp over for a few nights. Yes, you can camp here! Snorkeling and kayaking, too!

Sandhill cranes in flight. Photo by Stephen L. Tabone.

Migrating sandhill cranes in Florida: Quite a sight, sound

I wait all year to enjoy Florida’s winters, and not just for the cooler weather. It’s also the peak time to spot amazing wildlife. One spectacular Florida scene worth seeing and hearing is a flock of migrating sandhill cranes.