Dry Tortugas 2014
Lead By: Wes Biggs and other great leaders
Aboard: M/V Spree
Departing From: Key West
The Destination & The Birds
Dry Tortugas National Park is the most remote park in the entire system. Located 68 miles from Key West the park consists of 7 islands and 102 square miles of ocean and coral reefs. The Dry Tortugas is quite simply one of the world’s greatest birding destinations!! For the North American or Florida lister it is a MUST BIRD place!! For the bird photographer it is spectacularly unique! The Florida peninsula and the Upper Keys are sub-tropical, but when you reach the town of Marathon on Key Vaca you enter the true tropics. There has never been a freeze recorded south of this location. A number of species reach their northernmost breeding range in the Keys and Dry Tortugas. The rare Antillean Nighthawk arrives in the lower keys to nest in the later half of April and is a regular migrant through the Tortugas. Brown Boobies, and Black Noddies are regular in the Tortugas as non-breeders and Red-footed Booby and White-tailed Tropicbirds are rare visitors as well. The Dry Tortugas is the only North American nesting location for the Magnificent Frigatebird, Masked Booby and Brown Noddy, and the only regular nesting site of the Sooty Tern. Migrating raptors and dozens of species of land birds are a great draw as well, but the lure of a stray from the Caribbean is like gold fever to the hardcore birder.
The photographic opportunities at Dry Tortugas are many and varied. Tropical species not found elsewhere in North America are great fun, but spring plumage migrants posing at very close range are just as exciting. Spectacular coral reefs and the most beautiful 19th century brick fort in the Western Hemisphere will keep you busy!
The human history of the Dry Tortugas began in 1513 when the islands were discovered by Ponce de Leon.
Construction on spectacular Ft. Jefferson began in 1846 and became the prison that held Dr. Samuel A. Mudd after he was convicted as one of the conspirators in President Lincoln's murder. Every real history buff needs to visit this remarkable place.
Dry Tortugas I Thursday April 10 through Sunday April 13, 2014:
Dry Tortugas II Tuesday April 15 through Friday April 18, 2014:
Easter is Sunday April 21, 2014
Dry Tortugas III Tuesday April 22 through Friday April 25, 2014:
South Florida Land Tour Saturday April 26 through Friday May 2, 2014 (Connects with Dry Tortugas III & V)
Dry Tortugas IV Sunday April 27 through Wednesday April 30, 2014
Dry Tortugas V Friday May 2 through Monday May 5, 2014
We will have a full day of birding in the Lower Florida Keys. White-crowned Pigeon, Mangrove Cuckoo, Antillean Nighthawk, Black-whiskered Vireo and "Golden" Warbler will be some of the primary targets among spring migrants. After a dinner of wonderful Cuban food we will board the Spree and settle in for the night.
After an early morning departure we will enter the Gulf Stream in search of pelagic species such as Audubon's Shearwater, Bridled Tern and Band-rumped Storm-Petrel. We will arrive at the Dry Tortugas about mid-day. After lunch we will begin our exploration of Garden Key and magnificent Fort Jefferson. Thousands of Brown Noddies and Sooty Terns will be close at hand, Magnificent Frigatebirds will be hanging overhead and colorful migrants will be only feet away. Don't forget your camera! A beautiful sunset & maybe a view of 'The Green Flash' and a night walk around the moat wall looking for sea creatures will round out the day.
Today we will explore close up views of the Masked Booby colony and the frigatebird colony. We will see Brown Boobies and with a little luck Black Noddy.
Breakfast and a morning search of Garden Key before we depart for Key West. With luck we may see some pelagic species before our arrival.
$1195.00 per person
Balance: 90 days prior to departure
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To reserve a space: Contact Wes Biggs by email or call 407-384-9766 or 407-376-6967 or use our registration form.
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