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Birdquest's Bahamas including Central Florida birding tour features one of the least-known birdwatching Venues in North America and one of the best-known. Our Bahamas including Central Florida tour features all five Bahamas endemics as well as the endemic Florida Scrub-Jay.
Saturday 10th May -
Thursday 15th May 2014
Central Florida Post-Tour Extension: Thursday 15th May – Sunday 18th May (4 days)
Leaders: Simon Mitchell and assistant
Group Size Limit: 12
Tour Category: Easy
A far-flung scattering of low-lying islands in the tropical Atlantic make up the Bahamas. If ever a group of islands typified the popular view of the ‘desert island’ then the Bahamas fit the bill – endless miles of white sand beaches, swaying palms, turquoise blue waters, coral reefs and the sun shining down from a blue, blue sky almost every day of the year! We only need to visit the attractive island of Abaco and the island of North Andros, in the northern Bahamas, in order to see the islands’ five endemics: Bahama Woodstar, Bahama Swallow, the recently-split Bahama Warbler, Bahama Yellowthroat and the recently-recogniozed Bahama Oriole. Whilst searching for these five major specialities we will also be able to enjoy a series of predominantly Caribbean birds including the Bahamas form of the Cuban Parrot (which may in future be treated as a fourth Bahamian endemic), West Indian Whistling-Duck, Zenaida Dove, the beautiful Key West Quail-Dove, Great Lizard-Cuckoo, Antillean Nighthawk, Cuban Emerald, West Indian Woodpecker, Cuban Pewee, La Sagra’s Flycatcher, Loggerhead Kingbird, Red-legged Thrush, Bahama Mockingbird, Olive-capped Warbler, Western Stripe-headed Tanager and Greater Antillean Bullfinch. Interesting seabirds include White-tailed Tropicbird, Bridled and Sooty Terns, Brown Noddy and perhaps Audubon’s Shearwater.
After exploring these idyllic islands, and after so much sun and sea, never mind such relaxing and enjoyable birding, it is going to be hard to drag ourselves away!
The optional extension takes us to Central Florida, home to the only Florida endemic species, the rapidly declining Florida Scrub-Jay. We will first visit Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, home to the largest remaining population of the species, and also a great place for seeing waterbirds close-up, and in particular herons, egrets, ibises and Roseate Spoonbills. Fish Crow and Boat-tailed Grackle are two endemic specialities of the eastern United States.
After moving inland to the Kissimmee region, we will explore the prairies, pine woodlands, scrublands and wetlands. Amongst the special birds here are four species endemic to the southeastern United States: Mottled Duck, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch and Bachman’s Sparrow. We will also be wanting to see endangered Snail Kite, the beautiful Swallow-tailed Kite, Crested Caracara, the strange Limpkin and the Florida race of the Sandhill Crane.
The Bahamas and Central Florida offer a very attractive combination for anyone with an interest in the avifauna of this beautiful part of the world. Good standards of accommodation and food, and mostly easy travelling and birding conditions, make for a relaxing but highly rewarding journey.
Birdquest has operated tours to the Bahamas since 2004 and to Florida since 1982.
(Note: The above is a summary of the tour. For more information please download the detailed, day-by-day itinerary. The button is at the top right of the page.)
Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels/motels are of normal Birdquest standard throughout. Road transport is by minibus/passenger van or car. Roads in the Bahamas are rather variable in quality, but distances are short.
Walking: The walking effort is easy throughout.
Climate: Warm or hot, and mostly dry and sunny, though it can be overcast and it may rain. It will be rather humid.
Bird Photography: Opportunities are quite good.
Linkable Birdquest: North Carolina & The Gulf Stream
Tour Price: (provisional): $2670 Miami/Miami. Central Florida Post-Tour Extension (ending in Orlando): $840. Price includes all transportation (including Miami-Marsh Harbour (Abaco)-Nassau-Andros Town-Nassau-Miami flights), all accommodations, all meals, some drinks, all excursions, all entrance fees, all tips for local drivers/guides and for accommodations/restaurants, leader services.
Single Room Supplement: (provisional): $360. Central Florida Post-Tour Extension: $168.
Deposit: 10% of the tour price (excluding any single supplement).
Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency can arrange your air travel in connection with the tour from a departure point anywhere in the world, or you may arrange your own air travel if you prefer. We can tailor-make your itinerary to your personal requirements, so if you would like to travel in advance of the tour (and spend a night in an hotel so you will feel fresh when the tour starts), or return later than the end of the tour, or make a side trip to some other destination, or travel business class rather than economy, we will be happy to assist. Please contact us about your air travel requirements.