USA – Florida: Southern Specialties and Wintering Songbirds 2020

December 13 - 18, 2020
Tour Length: 6 days Est. Spaces Left: Contact Us for info

This tour is jointly operated by High Lonesome BirdTours & Rockjumper Birding Tours

South Florida is one of the classic birding destinations of the United States, offering a unique mix of birds from the north and south with a decidedly Caribbean flavour. Due to its southernly position and proximity to the Gulf Stream, the southern tip of Florida is frost-free throughout the winter. These mild winters attract an incredible assortment of vireos, flycatchers, raptors, shorebirds, and warblers (up to twenty-five species) – in fact, bird diversity peaks at this season. This short and relaxed tour explores South Florida’s varied ecosystems such as pinelands, sawgrass prairie, and tropical hardwood forests in search of these wintering species as well as numerous bird specialties found no where else in the USA.


No Tour Extensions Listed.
Future Departures:
December 13, 2021
Tour Leaders:
Max # Birders:
8 with RJT/HLBT
Birds; Photography;
Easy ; Easy pace with undemanding walks on flat trails
Double Accommodation:
$ USD1,800 * GBP1,408 * EUR1,630 * ZAR28,453
[per person]
Single Supplement:
+ $ TBD

During this tour, we stand an excellent chance of observing nearly all the south Florida specialties plus a large variety of wintering passerines, with excellent photo opportunities throughout. Birding in south Florida is very dynamic, and with any luck, there might be several strays from the Caribbean present in the area, which will make a special effort to find these. Possibilities include La Sagra’s Flycatcher, Western Spindalis, Bahama Mockingbird, Bananaquit and Thick-billed Vireo.

Day 1:  Arrival in Miami with some local birding (Night in West Kendall)
Day 2:  Birding Miami (Night in West Kendall)
Day 3:  Birding Everglades National Park (Night in West Kendall)
Day 4:  Birding Tamiami Trail and Big Cypress (Night in Jupiter)
Day 5:  Birding Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Palm Beach Wetlands (Night in Jupiter)
Day 6:  Birding Palm Beach, drive to Miami for afternoon departures

This tour is designed to be a relaxed, slow paced tour that spends quality time observing and learning about a number of local birds, rather than chasing and ticking every species in the area.

We stay at only two hotels (West Kendall area in Miami and Palm Beach/Jupiter area in Palm Beach). These will be 3-star hotels.

Each day begins early with breakfast before sunrise (06:30), followed by a short drive to the birding site(s) for the day. The earlier starts maximize our chances at seeing the most interesting bird species while minimizing our time spent in the traffic of this large urban area. We have lunch at approximately 12:00-12:30 at a locally owned restaurant that reflects the culture of the area (Cuban, Peruvian, Argentine etc), or cater a picnic lunch such as in the Everglades National Park where there are no food venues. We enjoy birding at a more leisurely pace in the afternoon, most likely at wetlands or fields where bird activity is high in the early evening commute back to roosting sites. We then meet at 19:00 to discuss the following days activities and enjoy an aperitif before taking dinner.

This tour consists of short drives, with each drive being between 30 min and 1 ½ hrs in length. Road conditions are excellent, almost entirely on paved roads and decidedly flat terrain.


  • Download Itinerary

    No PDF is available at this time. See Below.

  • Meeting Location

    Miami International Airport


    Two comfortable, three-star hotels.



  • Top Birds

    White-crowned Pigeon, Mangrove Cuckoo, Piping Plover, King Rail, Sora, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, American & Least Bitterns, Roseate Spoonbill, Snail Kite, Short-tailed Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Florida Scrub Jay, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Bachman’s Sparrow; large numbers of wintering songbirds at this time of year, including Brown-crested, Least & Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Painted & Indigo Buntings, Summer Tanager, Worm-eating, Prairie, Cape May, Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Yellow-throated & Magnolia Warbler (and more); good opportunities for nocturnal species such as Eastern Whip-poor-will, Eastern Barn & Barred Owls and Eastern Screech-Owl.

    Top Mammals

    West Indian Manatee; alligator; American crocodile; Florida panther

    Habitats Covered

    Tropical hardwood forest, sawgrass prairie, freshwater slough, Florida pinelands, suburban gardens, sandy beaches

    Expected Climate

    Nearly tropical with warm days being the norm, occasional cold fronts can cause temperatures to dip for a couple days (down to the 40s overnight) requiring a jacket. Average daily temperatures in the mid to high 70s, while low temperatures dip into the 60s overnight.

  • Other Attractions

    Tropical scenery.

    Suggested Clothing & Gear
    • Valid, current passport (w/ 4 blank pages)
    • Visa (if required)
    • Credit cards / cash
    • Binoculars
    • Scope and tripod (optional)
    • Sunglasses and sunscreen
    • Water bottle
    • Small umbrella
    • Small day pack / fanny pack
    • Small flashlight
    • Mosquito/insect repellant (DEET 25% or greater)
    • Itch relief cream
    • Lip screen/balm
    • Prescription drugs - carry in original packaging to avoid customs problems
    • OTC medicines (antibiotics, cold/sinus, cough drops, eye drops, analgesic (Motrin, aspirin), anti-diarrheal)
    • Toiletries
    • Small alarm clock
    • Field guides
    • Hiking Boots/Shoes
    • Lightweight shoes/sneakers/sandals
    • Light-weight long pants
    • Light-weight long-sleeved shirts
    • Hat with brim/visor
    • Safari (e.g., Tilly) hat
    • Rain jacket/wind breaker
    • Shorts
    • T-shirts
    • Swimsuit
    • PJs or shorts for lounging/sleeping
    • Moleskin for blisters
    Recommended Reading


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