Overview

Together, both climate and geography isolate Florida from the rest of the country. Because of its geographically unique position, Florida is a crossroads between the temperate north and the sultry Caribbean south. Indeed, about a dozen bird species of West Indian origin reach the northern limits of their range here. Many of these West Indian species live nowhere else in the United States. Furthermore, due to its southerly position and proximity to the Gulf Stream, the southeast corner of the Sunshine State hosts an incredible assortment of warblers, vireos, flycatchers, raptors and shorebirds -- up to twenty-five warbler species and ten flycatcher species have been recorded in a single winter season! It is also the best time of year to catch up with some Florida specialties which are much more difficult on normal spring itineraries like Short-tailed Hawk. Indeed, the excellence of winter birding in South Florida is one of North America's secrets, as it is the time when avian diversity peaks in the region.

On this tour, we cover the southern third of the state in search of the many specialty birds and winter visitors on offer. We begin by exploring 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, as well as a wide variety of winter residents such as Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Summer Tanager, and a score of warblers. A little further north, a series of well-planned wetlands are home to all of the Florida wetland specialties: Wood Stork, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, Sora, and more. We also explore nearby oak scrub for Florida’s only endemic bird, the Florida Scrub Jay. On the last leg of our journey, we explore bald cypress forests, pinelands and mudflats in southwestern Florida for charismatic waders such as Piping and Snowy Plovers and memorable woodland species such as Brown-headed Nuthatch and Red-headed Woodpecker.

2023 Tour price is an estimate and will change. Tour dates could be adjusted.

Tour Facts Top Birds
Florida Scrub Jay; Short-tailed Hawk; Snail & White-tailed Kites; Purple Gallinule; Limpkin; Mangrove Cuckoo; White-crowned Pigeon; Burrowing Owl; Ruby-throated Hummingbird; Great Horned & Eastern Screech Owls; Eastern Whip-poor-will; Brown-crested Flycatcher; Swamp, Grasshopper, Savannah, Clay-colored, Bachman's & Lincoln’s Sparrow; Common Ground Dove; Indigo & Painted Buntings; Black-bellied Whistling Duck; American Bittern; Least Bittern; Sora; King Rail; Red-headed & Red-cockaded Woodpeckers; Reddish Egret; Marbled Godwit; Red Knot; Black Skimmer. Warblers: Northern & Louisiana Waterthrush, Blue-winged, Black-and-white, Tennessee, Blackpoll, Cape May, Magnolia, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Prairie, Yellow-throated, Prothonotary & Palm Warblers Introduced species: Grey-headed Swamphen, Monk, White-winged & Nanday Parakeets, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Common Myna, Spot-breasted Oriole
Top Mammals
West Indian Manatee
Habitats Covered
urban parks, lakes, swamps, grassland, pine forest, sawgrass prairie
Expected Climate
warm and humid conditions with mosquitoes in the Everglades
Max Group Size
8 with 1 Rockjumper Tour Leader
Tour Pace & Walking
relaxed pace with a few shorter walks
Accommodation
comfortable hotels & lodges, 2 or 3-star
Ease of Birding
generally easy
Other Attractions
American Crocodile, American Alligator, Everglades National Park
Photographic Opportunities
good
Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

I just wanted you to know that the trip to Texas with Stefan and Claudia went fantastic. The birding was unbelievable and the logistics to pull that all off in such a large state as Texas were near flawless. Stefan is an amazing birder and his persistence and patience made certain everyone got on the birds; the views were amazing. Claudia was a great help for him and was fantastic at quickly getting the scope on the birds as well. It was all wonderful Rockjumper birding until you drop at its finest! On side notes, the food was great.

Stephan Lorenz is a fantastic guide. His ability to find tough birds is amazing, plus he has a great personality which makes the whole trip very enjoyable.

Stephan and Claudia are a great team: Stephan is simply amazing hearing, spotting and helping all get on the relevant bird(s). As the only non-master birder and the oldest person on the trip, I thought that they both were helpful, careful and mindful of the needs of me and each of the group. Claudia often got on the bird as quickly as Stephan spotted it. The group worked for the best interest of the group. .... During a pandemic, the group acted responsibly and carefully.

This tour exceeded our expectations. Forrest Rowland is an exceptional guide. His intimate knowledge of Yellowstone Park and the general area and the species of animals and birds that inhabit the area are invaluable to the experience, but more than that his unbridled enthusiasm, superior patience, and ability to adjust to circumstances ensured the success of this trip. The area was hit with a very unusual early snowstorm that closed large parts of the park and many roads, but Forrest was able to pivot and ensure that we got to see animals, birds, and geothermal sites despite the difficult conditions. He organized excellent field lunches and great dinners in town and always had several backup plans in mind in case the weather turned either worse or better. The accommodation was located perfectly for easy and quick access to the park, and we found the hotel very comfortable with friendly staff. Forrest also organized a talk for our group with a wolf and bird expert from the Yellowstone Park staff, and this was certainly a highlight of the trip as it provided even more context and background for what we saw every day. I would travel with Forrest again regardless of the destination because he is a guide who will make sure that no matter where we travel the experience will be superior.

Stephan was a great birding guide and tour manager. He knew his patch and worked tirelessly to find and ensure all participants had good birds views. He located all the key 'target' birds. He and his partner produced great al fresco dining and ensured all arrangement worked well, not easy in these COVID impacted times. As always with RJ, I had a most enjoyable trip and satisfied my birding wishes. Well done RJ and Stephan/Claudia. Than you all.

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2023 DEPARTURES
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