Field Trips

Important Statement Regarding COVID-19 and Field Trips

During the PIAS 2020-2021 season, we will be leading a smaller number of field trips because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our goal is to offer a series of exciting visits to good birding locations that will get people outdoors while keeping each other safe and healthy. Birding offers a wonderful means of escaping the indoors, exercising, socializing with friends at a distance and contributing to our mental well-being.

Participants must sign up for trips on our website so we may limit the number of people. Following CDC safety guidelines, masks will be required and physical distancing observed when necessary, for example, on crowded boardwalks and trails. In the past, we have encouraged carpooling to trip locations, but will not do so this year. We will not share binoculars or spotting scopes, so please bring your own equipment. By following these few simple steps, we can enjoy nature together and maintain our health. 

Schedule of the 2021-2022 Pelican Island Audubon field trips.
Click here for the meeting & program schedule.

Check back often. More field trips to be added.

Saturday, 4 December 2021 – Blue Cypress Conservation Area Kayak Trip (Rain date, 5 December) – Join Guide Steve Goff for a float trip through a beautiful wetland of sawgrass, spikerush, white waterlily, tree islands and cypress domes. This Everglades-like habitat provides a nearby get-away from the city and its pressures. The trip will last from 3-4 hours of easy paddling. We should see many of our typical wetland birds in the wetlands and arboreal songbirds and raptors around the levees and islands.

Meet in the Blue Cypress Conservation Area parking lot along SR 512 at 8:00 am. Trip is limited to 6 people or kayaks, and participants must bring their own craft. Foot-paddle kayaks are discouraged because of the dense submerged vegetation. Registration is required. Click to register.
Saturday, 11 December 2021 – Bee Gum Point – Guide Jim Shea will lead a walk around this Indian River Land Trust property east of A1A in Indian River Shores on the barrier island. This 111-acre property is one of the last unprotected wetlands on the barrier island and contains a mile of Indian River Lagoon shoreline. It is situated along the Atlantic Flyway, a major corridor for migrating birds. The tour will take 1.5-2 hours and involves walking on mowed levees for 1.6 miles.

Meet at 7:00 am at the parking lot at the west end of Fred Tuerk Drive by turning west at the blinking light on A1A in Indian River Shores. The lot is at the left by the electrical substation. Trip is limited to 15 people. Registration is required. Click to register.
Saturday, 8 January 2022 – San Sebastian River – Guide Steve Goff will lead a kayak trip on the South Prong of the San Sebastian River in Sebastian. This is a slow and easy downstream paddle on a lovely, winding “jungle” river from the kayak launch north of SR 512 off Watervliet Drive to the takeout at Dale Wimbrow Park at 11805 Roseland Road. The trip will take from 3-4 hours. Participants may travel with the group or at their own pace. The river is home to alligators, manatees, wading birds and large gar and tarpon. Much of the river is shaded by large Live Oaks and tall Sabal Palms.

Participants must bring their own kayaks/canoes or rent them. We will meet at 8:00 am to drop off kayaks at the Sebastian Canoe Launch (9800 Canoe Launch Cove, Sebastian, FL 32958) where they will be guarded by Bill Loftus while we take our vehicles to the takeout at Wimbrow Park. By leaving vehicles at the takeout, paddlers may leave the river at whatever time they finish without waiting for others. We will be shuttled back to the launch site by Becky Loftus to begin the trip by 8:30. The trip is limited to 12 kayaks/canoes. Registration is required. Click to register.
Wednesday, 12 January 2022 – Captain Forster Hammock Preserve Conservation Area – Join Guides Susan and Wesley Lovelace for an easy hike through one of their favorite locations on the barrier island. The 110-acre conservation area includes several different habitats, especially the maritime hammock, which is one of the last remaining mature maritime hammocks in the county. The 1.1-mile trail is easy walking, and extends from the parking area on South Jungle Trail on the shoreline of the Indian River Lagoon through the hammock and coastal scrub to the dune at the oceanfront. Birding is often good, especially during migrations.

Meet in the parking area at 8650 Jungle Trail, Vero Beach, FL at 8:00 am. Restrooms are available at the parking area. Registration below is required, as are masks and physical distancing while on the trail. Please bring your own binoculars. Limited to 15 participants. Registration is required. Click to register.
Sunday, 23 January 2022 – Orlando Wetlands Park, 25155 Wheeler Rd, Christmas, FL – Guides Bill and Becky Loftus will lead a walking tour of this famous birding location. The Park is a wastewater-treatment wetland that attracts a wide variety and large numbers of waterbirds. Songbirds and raptors occur around the tree islands, palm stands and cypress domes. The birds may be approached closely, offering great opportunities for photography. The paths on the levees are dry and smooth but are not open to vehicles, other than bicycles. We will be walking about 2 ½ to 3 miles. Bring drinking water, sunscreen and a hat as the area is open to the sun and can become hot.

We will meet at the Chevron gas station on County Road 512, just east of I95, at 6:00 am. If you wish to drive directly to Orlando Wetlands Park, please let the PIAS office know so we do not wait for you at Sebastian. We should arrive at the Orlando Wetlands Park about 7:30. The trip is limited to 20 people. Registration is required. Click to register.
Saturday, 5 February 2022 – Martha Wininger Reflection Park, Barber St. in Sebastian – Wes and Susan Lovelace will lead a walk through the Florida scrub habitat preserved near Pelican Island Elementary School in Sebastian. This scrub habitat was saved through the combined actions of Pelican Island Elementary students and Pelican Island Audubon to preserve living space for the Florida Scrub Jay in the midst of burgeoning suburban development. Besides searching for the Scrub Jay families that call this area home, Wes and Susan will identify the unique plants that comprise the scrub habitat, show which plants are critical to the jays, and discuss the requirements needed to preserve the scrub. The walk will be on dry, sandy paths and will be less than a mile.

Meet at 8:00 am at the monument on Barber Street, just east of the school, where parking is available. Pelican Island Elementary School is located at 1355 Schumann Dr, Sebastian, FL 32958. The park is just to the east along Barber Street. The walk is limited to 20 people. Registration is required. Click to register.
Saturday, 12 February 2022 – Fort Drum Marsh Conservation Area – Guide: George Glenn – The Fort Drum Marsh Conservation Area is made up of 20,862-acres comprising wetlands and upland communities that mark the southernmost reach of the St. Johns River’s headwaters.  The dry prairie, pine flatwoods, hardwood swamp and freshwater marsh habitats support a variety of wildlife and attract a large number of bird species, especially during the winter migration.  Hiking trails through the various habitats include a boardwalk through a mixed cypress/hardwood swamp.

We will meet out at the parking area near the first gate at Fort Drum at 7 AM. It is important that everyone try to get there on time because we will enter through a gate that we will have to lock after driving through. To get to the entrance to Fort Drum, go west on Rt. 60 as if you are heading to Yeehaw Junction. The entrance is on the South side of the road, and is roughly 15 miles from the I-95 interchange and right before you get to the “bend” in the rt. 60 road. You do NOT go all the way to Yeehaw Junction. Once you make the turn into Fort Drum access road, you will travel around 1/2 mile to the gate. It’s a single road so you don’t have to worry about getting lost. Everyone will be provided the combination to the gate lock so that if you decide you want to quit the hike early, you will be able to leave when you want. Contact the field trip leader, George Glenn, at 850-294-4586 if you need further directions, especially on the morning of the field trip. The walk is limited to 20 people. Registration is required. Click to register.
Thursday, 17 March 2022 – Wakodahatchee and Green Cay Wetlands – Guides Bill and Becky Loftus will lead a tour of these created wetlands that serve to clean wastewater from Palm Beach County Water Utilities treatment facilities. These are two of the best birding spots in Florida at which to observe and photograph wetland birds. The ponds at Wakodahatchee Wetlands (13270 Jog Road, Delray Beach, FL 33446) host a wonderful variety of wildlife including fishes, turtles, alligators and many birds species (> 140 bird species of birds have been recorded). We’ll observe waterfowl, herons, egrets, anhingas and cormorants in the ponds; grassy marshes will have wading birds, rails, coots and moorhens. Willow islands and dead trees are used for nesting and roosting while the cypress forests are used by warblers, woodpeckers, and other birds. The three-quarter mile, handicapped-accessible boardwalk provides easy viewing. Springtime is the best time to see and photograph at close range Wood Storks, Great Blue Herons, Tri-colored Herons, Great Egrets, Cattle Egrets, Anhingas and Double-crested Cormorants on nests caring for eggs and feeding nestlings. During winter, particularly on weekends, the limited parking area fills quickly so it is best to arrive early.

Nearby Green Cay Nature Center and Wetlands (12800 Hagen Ranch Road, Boynton Beach, Florida 33437) has 100 acres of treatment marshes, ponds and cypress wetlands, along with hardwood hammock and pine uplands. The 1.5 miles of elevated, handicapped-accessible boardwalk offers close-up viewing of the wetland and waterbirds.. The wetlands are home to hundreds of individuals of wetland and wading birds and waterfowl, especially in winter and spring. The marshes and shallow ponds are great places to observe Soras, Blue-winged Teal, Wood Storks and most herons and egrets, Purple Gallinules, and many others. Birds in the hammocks and cypress forests include warblers, woodpeckers, Red-shouldered Hawks, Screech Owls, and others. Several Purple Martin houses over the open ponds are active with dozens of martins in late winter through spring. Green Cay Nature Center is the county’s newest nature center located at the beginning of the boardwalk. The air-conditioned center has interpretive exhibits, a gift shop and restrooms. Bird feeders in the hammock outside the center attract a variety of upland birds, including Painted Buntings. There is also a butterfly garden nearby.

We will meet at 6:00 am at the IHOP at 8800 20th St., Vero Beach, [Click for map.] to make the 1.5-hour drive south to Delray Beach.

Trip is limited to 15 people. Registration is required. Click to register.
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