Birds & Wildlife of the Everglades

The Everglades of South Florida is one of the most unique wilderness areas in the United States. The ‘River of Grass’ is made up of 1.5 million acres of subtropical wetlands – featuring lakes, rivers, mangrove forests, sawgrass marshes, and assorted wetlands. It runs from iconic Lake Okeechobee down to the southern tip of Florida.

Because of its large expanse and habitat diversity, the Everglades is home to an oasis of birds and wildlife. It protects 70 endangered or threatened species, including the American alligator, the manatee, the Florida panther, and many species of birds. The greater Everglades area is home to over 360 bird species, with standouts such as the roseate spoonbill, the glossy ibis, the wood stork, and a variety of egrets and herons.

Aside from the famous Everglades National Park, there are numerous protected areas that are fantastic for wildlife photography and viewing. Wildlife refuges and preserves surround the national park, providing world-class photography opportunities, there is even an Audubon sanctuary listed as one of the best places in America for birding.

Winter is an ideal time to visit the Everglades. Temperatures are mild, it’s dry, and mosquitoes are almost entirely absent. Large numbers of resident and transient birds can be found in the swamplands and other wildlife, such as alligators, coyotes, bobcats, and otters are active as well.

This workshop starts and ends in Ft. Myers, FL. Ft. Myers has a commercial international airport for easy access – Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW). Ft. Myers and Naples to the south are in the heart of many great birding locations and gives us quick access to the Everglades.

Lodging during the workshop includes excellent hotels, as well as great nearby dining options.

You’ll get ample one on one time with your instructor and improve your photography in one of the world’s great wildlife hotspots. Aside from the fun you’ll experience with your fellow photographers you’ll leave this trip with a highly expanded portfolio of excellent images and a wealth of memories. Join us today for the trip of a lifetime to photograph the birds and wildlife of South Florida’s Everglades!

Highlights

  • Top Birding Destination in World
  • Alligators & Reptiles
  • Private Boat Tours
  • Meals & lodging included
  • Small Groups
  • Hands-on instruction

Birds & Wildlife of the Everglades

6 Days

Trip Price: from $4295 double occupancy (meals, lodging & boat trips)

+$575 single occupancy

Deposit: $1500

Fitness Level: All participants must be in good physical condition and have the ability
to walk with camera equipment and get in and out of small boats.

Meals: Most meals included (see itinerary)

Lodging: We will be staying in comfortable hotels in Fort Myers and Homestead.

Start/End: Ft. Meyers, FL

Hours: Mon-Fri 8am to 4pm Mountain Time


*trip difficulty ratings

Trip Details

Physical Requirements
All participants must be in good physical condition and have the ability to walk a day-pack. Must be able to get into and out of small boats. No hiking involved on this trip.

Group Size
This trip is limited to six participants

Accommodation
We will be staying at comfortable hotels picked just for us in Ft. Meyers, Marco Island, and Homestead, Florida.

Meals
Most meals are included during the trip dates. We’ll have a group dinner in Ft. Meyers at one of our favorite local restaurants the first night, and then be eating fantastic meals at carefully selected restaurants along the way.

Weather
Warm, sometimes wet, and humid conditions should be expected in the Everglades region.

Price Includes
Meals, ground transportation, park entry fees, chartered boat trips, accommodation during the trip dates, professional photography instruction, and medically certified wilderness guide.

Price Does Not Include
Airfare to/from Ft. Meyers, alcoholic beverages, accommodations before or after the trip dates, guide & staff gratuities.

Itinerary

Please note: This is a “standard” tour, but some locations will require the ability to hike 1-2 miles roundtrip on flat terrain. Most meals included – (B,L,D) denotes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day One (Travel Day)(D)
We will meet at our hotel in Ft. Myers, FL at 5pm the first evening of the trip for an orientation and welcome dinner.

Day Two (B,L,D)
We will start off the workshop with an incredible private boat experience! Our experienced captain will take us into the Ten Thousand Islands area of Everglades National Park. We will be in a position to photograph hundreds of birds for a ‘fly off’, as they leave their morning roost. After, we will boat to various locations to capture feeding birds in the shallows. After lunch, we will take a few short hikes near an Audubon sanctuary in search of birds, alligators, and more wildlife. We will finish off the evening shoot at Tigertail Beach, a fantastic place to view Wilson’s, Piping and Snowy Plovers, as well as Least Terns, Roseate Spoonbills, Red Knots, Reddish Egrets, and Magnificent Frigatebirds.

Day Three (B,L,D)
For sunrise, we will head to the world-renowned JN ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. The refuge is home to over 245 bird species, as well as mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. We will take a quick break to grab some food mid-morning and then head to a great spot to find manatees. We will take another private boat tour into the Everglades for our evening session. Before sunset, hundreds of birds will fly back into the rookery, making for an incredible photography experience.

Day Four (B,D)
Boat is the best way to see the true wilderness and wildlife diversity of the Everglades, thus on the morning of Day four, we will take one final boat tour. We will spend a few hours exploring the western Everglades in search of wildlife before returning to port. Afterward, we will continue on to our lodging for the next few days in Florida City, on the outskirts of Everglades National Park. In the evening, we will take a hike in Everglades National Park to a lookout tower where we can spot birds. We may also drive the Main Park Road and stop at some of the roadside ponds, which provide good birding opportunities.

Day Five (B,L,D)
We will start the morning early, with a few hikes planned around sunrise and early morning. We will visit the parks Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center and follow the Anhinga Trail. The trail is one of the best wildlife viewing areas in the park, and it is extremely accessible. We will take another nearby trail later in the morning before taking a break. Late afternoon will take us down the Main Park Road, where we will scope out some of the ponds and eventually reach the Flamingo Visitor Center. The center features a marina that sometimes hosts the American Crocodile, one of the few accessible places in the park where they can be seen. Before sunset, we will backtrack and take a short hike to capture birds returning to their roost before the sun goes down.

Day Six (B)
On our final morning, we will head back towards Ft. Myers, driving through Everglades National Park. We will spend the morning in Shark Valley, which features numerous trails and a 15-mile roundtrip paved bike trail. We will walk the bike trail a little bit and focus on some of the shorter trails in the area. The Shark Valley is another phenomenal place to see alligators, birds, and maybe even an otter. Late morning, we will pack up and return to Ft. Myers, FL. Flights can be booked any time after 2 pm.

“Great trip to the Everglades! Russell Graves was a great guide, teacher, and friend. My first photo trip – thanks to the great experience, DEFINITELY won’t be my last.”

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