IN AND AROUND ST. LUCIE COUNTY ...

ST. LUCIE COUNTY BIRDS VIDEO ... click for YouTube link

ST. LUCIE COUNTY AUDUBON SOCIETY.  Formed in 1954 as a local chapter of  the National Audubon Society and Audubon of Florida, the St. Lucie Audubon Society is the oldest conservation group in the area. Check out the renovated and enlarged web site, including a map of suggested birding sites in St. Lucie County.

RIVER LILLY RIVER CRUISES. Once a week this comfortable 18-passenger pontoon boat does nature cruises from the Northport Marina Park on Prima Vista Boulevard to "Bird Island" in St. Lucie River in season. Lots of nesting wading birds. For information and reservations (772) 489-8344. They also do daily "jungle cruises." All are from River Park Marina on Prima Vista Boulevard.

SAVANNAS PRESERVE  STATE PARK, Walton Road, Port St. Lucie (north from U.S. 1). Opened in 2002, this state park has 8-1/2 miles of trails that come to an end in Indian River Estates (our old home), north of Port St. Lucie. In January 2002, we spotted a small raft of ring-necked ducks (a new one for our life lists) in the water off the canoe launch. This is not a place to see many varieties of birds at any one visit, but is a stopping point during migrations. Likely bets are sandhill cranes, herons, ospreys, hawks, black ducks, yellow-rumped sparrows, red-bellied woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers. A piliated woodpecker would not be  unexpected.

FORT PIERCE INLET STATE PARK. North A1A, over the bridge north of the the inlet. Not a great place for birding, but a pleasant spot where the Indian River meets the ocean. Quiet on most weekdays. Go straight in to the inlet and park near the shelters. Walk down on the beach and to the right, there's a long cove and across the way is a sandbar with dozens of sea and shore birds. In January 2002 we say the usual herring gulls, royal terns, skimmers, and willet. Go back to the parking lot and continue around towards the east. The beach is a popular local surfing spot.
      Keep going to the north end of the parking lot and to your left is the Highland Hammock trail. Supposedly a "leisurely 30-minute" walk, it took us 12 minutes, and we're about as leisurely as you can get without standing still. It is dense, shady and breezeless, but the trail is smooth and the perfect for a meditative walk.

POND ON MORNINGSIDE BOULEVARD in Port St. Lucie, Florida.  The pond is periodically a good spot for birds  We have seen black ducks, blue-winged teal, common gallinules, white and glossy ibises, lesser yellowlegs, pied-bill grebe, snowy egret in one mid-day viewing. However, on drive-bys recently haven't seen much action.

SAINTS GOLF COURSE PONDS, ETC., Port St. Lucie.   The city has rehabilitated this course and made it a public course. Birds sighted include sandhill cranes, wood storks, ibis, various herons and egrets, anhingas and a roseate spoonbill as well as alligators and turtles. In 2006 on, this is less fruitful.

WHITE CITY PARK in St. Lucie County, Florida.  Small songbirds, migrating flocks and various tiny twits find this eerie but pretty park along Midway Road. Avoid at night.

DUPUIS MANAGEMENT AREA, Palm Beach County, go west from Stuart on SR 76, west of Indiantown. The main attraction here is that Red-cockaded Woodpeckers have been reintroduced into these  21,875 acres managed by the South Florida Water Management District. We didn't see them, but did see a Hairy Woodpecker and lots of Red Bellies. The area has an interesting history. Be aware there is hunting allowed and even promoted on this property at times.

INDIAN RIVER and HUTCHINSON ISLAND in St. Lucie County.  Double-crested cormorants, anhingas, herons, egrets, pelicans and various shore birds populate the edges of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, with the variety changing with the season. Roseate spoonbills are sometimes seen. Manatees are in the river during the cooler months, and can be seen especially at the manatee observation center in downtown Fort Pierce. in St. Lucie County.
      Double-crested cormorants, anhingas, herons, egrets, pelicans and various shore birds populate the edges of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, with the variety changing with the season. Roseate spoonbills are sometimes seen. Manatees are in the river during the cooler months, and can be seen especially at the manatee observation center in downtown Fort Pierce.

ELSEWHERE IN FLORIDA ...

MERRITT ISLAND, near Kennedy Space Center  in Florida Loads of birds in late February 2004, including green-winged teal among hundreds of blue-winged teals and common pin-tails. Visited in early February 2002 and saw sole Eurasian widgeon was among the rafts of American widgeons that filled the waters between Point 2 and 3 on Black Point Drive. Also saw, among other things, lesser scaups, an eagle, northern shovelers, hooded mergansers, blue-winged teal, avocets, white pelicans (unusual on the east coast of Florida), and egrets and herons in mating plumage. A visual smorgasbord of waders, ducks and other marshland birds. Frequently a bald eagle or two. Saw snow geese here in December 1996. No charge. This is closed at the time of space shots.

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK   Every nature lover and those interested in our environment and ecology should visit this unique site at least once. Average birders who live in Florida, however, will not find many species here they can't see around the block from their homes... unless you get lucky enough to spy the pink ibis. Consider visiting Flamingo, at the southern tip of the park. Don't miss the "eco-pond."

CORKSCREW SWAMP SANCTUARY,  near Immokalee. Well-maintained with lots of variety, in the northern part of the Everglades. Plan to spend an hour or more hiking on the boardwalk in this western Florida preserve maintained by the National Audubon Society. (We haven't been here for years, but at last report it was overcrowded with noisy visitors, which reduced birding opportunities.)

J.N. "DING" DARLING NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, on Sanibel Island, Florida. Lots of interesting nooks and crannies in this small preserve on the west coast of the state. Also, good seaside birding, including white pelicans. If you plan to stay in this somewhat snooty resort area, expect high prices but good restaurants and a casual atmosphere.

   

Check out our slideshow of some Florida birds on YouTube