..Field Trips

General Information

All trips are open to anyone interested in birding, wildlife watching, and exploring Florida's natural areas.

Fees for reserved trips must be received in advance to insure a reservation. Please note that if you are not a current Chapter Only Member, the fee to attend our field trips is $20 per person.

For all trips, please bring binoculars, bird/nature guides, water, snacks, and sunscreen. Wear comfortable walking shoes (no flip-flops!) and a hat, and please note that some trips may require shoes to get wet.

Please remember to walk and speak quietly during the outings so as not to frighten the wildlife. Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to departure times to sign in. Walkie-talkies will be provided this year on outings, but please be sure to return these to the trip leader before departing.

Car pooling, when possible, is appreciated. All trips are subject to rescheduling or cancellation due to inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Field Trip Notes

SIGHTINGS: Check out what Audubon of the Western Everglades birders have seen on local birding trips by scrolling down.

NOTE: If birding or hiking at Bird Rookery Swamp in November, December, or January, take a car cover for the parking lot. Black Vultures there are very fond of car tops, windshield wipers, and black molding around windows.

2018-2019 Field Trip Dates

Please note that all trips will require you to register for each trip so our trip leaders know how many to expect. Fees will apply for some field trips for members & non-members.
Friday, Oct. 5, 2018
Pepper Ranch Sunflower Walk, Immokalee (may be wet). REGISTER NOW.
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018
CREW Marsh Trail, Estero -- Edible Plant Walk:  Come on an empty stomach. REGISTER NOW.
Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018
Sugden Park, Naples (Free)
Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018
Oil Well Rd. Tomato Fields/Duck Pond (Free)
Monday, Dec. 10, 2018
Six Mile Cypress Slough, Ft. Myers
Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018
Corkscrew Area Christmas Bird Count (Free)
Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018
119th Naples Area Christmas Bird Count (Free)
Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019
Biking Ding Darling Nat'l Wildlife Refuge
Fri.-Sun., Jan. 18-20, 2019
Rookery Bay Festival of Birds, Naples
Friday, Jan. 18, 2019
Florida Arbor Day Trolley Tour of Heritage Trees, Naples (Tentative)
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019
Bunche Beach, Ft. Myers
Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019
Harns Marsh, Lehigh Acres (Tentative Date)
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019
Okaloacoochee State Forest, Ave Maria
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019
FL Panther Wildlife Refuse Swamp Buggy Tour
(13-person limit)
Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019
STA-5 Storm Water Treatment Area, Clewiston
Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019
Wintering Shorebirds at Clam Pass, Naples
Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019
Bird Rookery Swamp, Naples
Monday, Mar. 11, 2019
Colliers Reserve, Naples (23-person Limit)
Saturday, Mar. 16, 2019
Boat tour of 10,000 Islands, including Morgan Bay, Cape Romano and shelling on Second Chance (Tentative)
Sunday, Apr. 7, 2019
Freedom Park, Naples (Free)
Saturday, Apr. 13, 2019
FL Panther Wildlife Refuge Swamp Buggy Tour(13-person limit)
Saturday, Apr. 20, 2019
Eagle Lakes Park, Naples
Saturday, Apr. 27, 2019
Naples Lakes Country Club (15-person Limit)
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Kayak and shelling on Sand Dollar Island, Marco
Saturday, June 22, 2019
Wade to Sand Dollar Island for guided viewing of nesting shorebirds
Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019
Bunche Beach, Ft. Myers
All trips are open to anyone interested in birding, wildlife and outdoor exploring. Some dates listed above may change. Any changes will be posted on our website and facebook.

Birding Reports from 2016-2017 Audubon of the Western Everglades' field trips

August 27, 2016
Everglades Ag Fields
70 species
October 1, 2016
Pepper Ranch/Lake Trafford
34 species
January 28, 2017
Bunche Beache
29 species
March 30, 2017
Collier's Reserve
31 species

Twenty-five birders joined Paul Bithorn and Brian Rapoza for the August 27 carpool trip to the Everglades Agricultural Area in Palm Beach County. The group assembled pre-dawn at Sawgrass Recreation Park on US 27 in Broward County; a Killdeer walking around the parking area was our first bird of the trip. Though we experienced threatening skies, including flashes of lightning, for a good part of the day, it never rained on us during seven very productive hours of birding.

Our first stop in the EAA was at a flooded but still vegetation-covered field south of King Ranch on the east side of US 27. When we arrived, large numbers of waders including Wood Stork, Roseate Spoonbill, Black-crowned Night-Heron and various other herons, egrets and ibis were concentrated around a ditch along the southern edge of the field. Astounding numbers of waders, mostly Glossy Ibis, were feeding throughout the field while huge flocks of blackbirds were gathered along the edges. Other birds seen while in this area included Black-bellied and Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Mottled Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, Cooper's Hawk, Purple Swamphen, Black-necked Stilt, Caspian Tern, Barn Swallow and Yellow Warbler. It was an awe-inspiring assemblage of birds and a sight we always hope for on this trip. Thanks to Bruce Pickholtz and Steve Kaplan for alerting us to this location.

Just as we were heading north again on US 27, our advance scouting party, led by Kevin Sarsfield, alerted us about a spot along a side road on the west side of US 27 where they found a nice variety of shorebirds, including Solitary Sandpiper. By the time the group arrived, most of the birds had disappeared, apparently scattered by a farm vehicle. A few returned, including Spotted Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone and Least Sandpiper. Our next scheduled stop was at Six-Mile Bend on CR 880; along the way, we added Common Nighthawk along CR 827A and Laughing Gull and Common Myna in Belle Glade. Several Black-bellied Plover were on the sod fields at Six-Mile Bend; a Crested Caracara flying over the fields was an unexpected find. Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and Bank Swallows were seen at flooded fields on Browns Farm Road, just west of the sod fields.

Only a few Brown-headed Cowbirds were at the Sem Chi rice plant. Gull-billed and Black Terns were in a flooded field on the opposite side of the road from the rice plant. A couple of Purple Martins were spotted overhead. A stop at STA 1W added two Ruddy Ducks and a heard-only Least Bittern. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Northern Parula, Prairie Warbler and Common Yellowthroat were found in vegetation around the parking lot. More Gull-billed and Black Terns were seen during quick drive along Gladeview Road.

At sod fields along Hatton Highway north of SR 80, we found three distant Upland Sandpipers. On New Vandergrift Road near the intersection of SR 80 and SR 98, another large assemblage of waders, mostly Wood Storks, continued in the flooded fields. Gull-billed and Black Terns were actively feeding in a ditch that crossed the field. Flocks of American White Pelican and Roseate Spoonbill as well as scattered shorebirds, including Semipalmated Plover, Black-necked Stilt, both yellowlegs, Pectoral, Stilt, Semipalmated, Western and Least Sandpipers and dowitcher sp. were found on the opposite side of the fields. A lone Least Tern was also seen there, our last stop before a late lunch in Belle Glade. We ended the day with about 70 species, including about 15 species of shorebirds.

Seven people had a great time even though the water was too high to allow for massive sunflower shows. Thank you Orlando Hidalgo for supplying our list from Lake Trafford and Pepper Ranch. No birds at the Midney feeders. Orlando broke the list up into 2: one list from Lake Trafford, and one from Pepper Ranch so you might see some bird species written down twice.

Lake Trafford

Little Blue Heron
Eurasian Collared Dove
Green Heron
Belted Kingfisher
Solitary Sandpiper
Great Egret
White Ibis
Red Shouldered Hawk
Tri-colored Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
Black-bellied Whistling Duck
Northern Mockingbird
Boat-tailed Grackle
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Northern Flicker

Pepper Ranch

White -eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk
White Ibis
Mourning Dove
Common Grackle
American Redstart
Eastern Phoebe
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Yellow-throated Warbler
Sandhill Cranes
American Kestrel
A brisk, sunny day with great views of many species and of course the exceptional teaching of Charlie Ewell and his other co leaders. Thanks to Ed Melo for the list.
White Ibis
Tree Swallow
Black-bellied Plover
Common Loon
Brown Pelican
Turkey Vulture
White Pelican
Semi-palmated Plover
Little Blue Heron
Spotted Sandpiper
Yellow-crowned night heron
Short-billed dowitcher
Red Knot
Least Sandpiper
Western Sandpiper
Rudy Turnstone
Ring-billed Gull
Laughing Gull
Long-billed Curlew
Black Skimmer
Royal Tern
Black Scoter
Northern Cardinal
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Reddish Egret - white morph
Mottled Duck
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Great Blue Heron
Boat-tailed Grackle
Swallow-tailed Kite
Great Egret
Fish Crow
American Kestrel
Blue Jay
Common Gallinule
Green Heron
Red winged Blackbird
Tricolored Heron
Purple Martin
Royal Tern
Little Blue Heron adult and juvenile
Black-crowned Night Heron adult and juvenile
Cattle Egret
Red-shouldered Hawk
Mourning Dove
Palm Warbler
Heard: Catbird and Phoebe