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WT - Florida 01:8-Day Tour of Fort Lauderdale - Myakka River State Park - Sanibel Island - Corkscrew Swamp Audubon Sanctuary - Everglades National Park - Fort Lauderdale
  • Day
    Entry Fort Lauderdale

    After arrival, visit an agricultural area near Belle Glade which should harbor many shorebirds and a Barn Owl roost.

  • Day
    Fort Lauderdale - Myakka River State Park

    Well have an early start this morning and drive north towards Sarasota and Myakka River State Park, one of Floridas oldest and largest state parks. This park has a great deal of habitat diversity which supports a wealth of flowers, insects, mammals and birds. In fact, in the winter time, the Myakka River and adjoining lakes are at their lowest levels. This results in large flocks of ducks and wading birds having access to an abundance of food in a small area. This often stimulates spectacular feeding frenzies. We can expect to see herons and ibises in shallow lakes and fertile marshes, view Bald Eagles nests in pine flatwoods and listen to the calls of Meadowlarks and Bobwhite that echo through the prairies.

  • Day
    Myakka River State Park - Sanibel Island

    Our morning drive will take us to Sanibel Island and the famous "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Botanists will enjoy the varied and interesting vegetation which ranges from night-blooming cereus to gumbo limbo trees, strangler figs, mangroves, orchids, and airplants in profusion. Wading birds are particularly outstanding in this refuge, with herons, egrets, storks and, sometimes up to one third of the total population of Roseate Spoonbills, wintering in the sanctuary. Black Skimmers ply the waters with bills agape, Bald Eagles and Frigatebirds soar overhead, Anhingas spread their wings to dry in the sun, and alligators lay still in the still waters. Its a fascinating and exciting place that we wont want to leave.

  • Day
    Sanibel Island - Corkscrew Swamp Audubon Sanctuary

    Well spend a pleasant day exploring the trails and enjoying the plant and animal life of this wonderful sanctuary. Its extensive boardwalk system allows us to work our way into the heart of this southern hardwood swamp, where some of the trees are up to 500 years old. Well walk to the Wood Stork rookery and, along the way, examine some of the swampflowers that bloom at various times of the year. There will be chances to see Pileated Woodpeckers drumming on tree trunks, Barred Owls roosting inconspicuously on branches festooned with Spanish moss, and perhaps a rare Red-cockaded Woodpecker foraging in the slash pines. The feeders at the entrance to the sanctuary always seem to attract some of the more colourful and spectacular birds of the region.

  • Day
    Corkscrew Swamp Audubon Sanctuary - Tamiani Trail

    Well leave the Fort Myers area this morning and drive across the Tamiani Trail to Homestead, gateway to the Everglades National Park. En route, well stop at Collier-Seminole State Park and explore some of its unique features. We will travel by boat along the Black Water River to see a tropical hammock dominated by trees that are characteristic of coastal forests of the West Indies and Yucatan Peninsula. Well also be on the lookout for such birds and mammals as Big Cypress Fox Squirrels, Wood Storks and Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. The rare Florida royal palm is a common species in this park. In the afternoon we will take the 2 hour Shark Valley Tram tour through the sawgrass prairie into the Everglades. Our day will end when we arrive at Homestead and our hotel for the night.

  • Day
    Tamiani Trail - Everglades National Park

    Today well begin our exploration of this fabulous park, where tropical life of the Caribbean Islands blend with temperate species of North America in a unique mixture of flora and fauna. A favourite spot for many visitors to the Everglades is the Anhinga Trail where well look for the numerous herons, egrets, gallinules, alligators, turtles and fish. Nearby, the Gumbo Limbo Trail winds through a wooded part of the hammock that contains over 160 species of plants, most of which are native to the West Indies. Well visit Mahogany Hammock which has paurotis palms and some of the largest mahogany trees in the continental United States. Well be treated to a unique ecosystem of fragile plants, colourful tree snails and hopefully, displays by the resident Barred Owls.

  • Day
    Everglades National Park

    This will be our last full day in the wilderness areas of Southern Florida and today is going to be one well long remember. Since the Everglades is best known for its abundance and variety of birdlife, well drive south to Flamingo, on the Gulf of Mexico, where the mudflats swarm with shorebirds, and Roseate Spoonbills, Reddish Egrets, and endangered Great White Herons feeding in the shallow waters. Well picnic in the park and enjoy the numerous wildlife and plants that are all around.

  • Day
    Everglades National Park - Fort Lauderdale Exit

    After breakfast, well reluctantly head north to Fort Lauderdale Airport, arriving at about 1:00 p.m., in time for our flights home. En route we will visit a Burrowing Owl colony.

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