CARRABELLE... about an hour southwest of Tallahassee, is in an area that is a little-known stopover for migrant birds crossing the Gulf of Mexico on their way north. Carrabelle is a quaint little village that overlooks an estuary with American oystercatchers and brown pelicans - and you may, driving just a short distance either east or west, find parks, reserves and birds, birds, and more birds.
ST. GEORGE ISLAND... just 25 miles west of Carrabelle is a narrow barrier island containing a beautiful state park. Here you may find American oystercatchers, pine, Cape May and prothonotary warblers, green and great blue herons, orchard orioles, blue grosbeaks, and red-eyed and white-eyed vireos. Osprey, great crested flycatchers, Sandwich and Forsterís terns are also a possibility. This island is famous for the oystercatchers nesting on the causeway leading to the island.
DOG ISLAND... is a barrier island accessible only by water taxi, boat or plane. On this island you may encounter herons, egrets, terns, shorebirds, loons, grebes, ducks, kingfishers, wrens, sparrows and warblers. It is truly worth a boat trip!
ST. MARKS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE... is 47 miles east of Carrabelle and is the largest coastal refuge. Here you will find white ibis, eastern kingbirds, wood ducks, night herons, bluebirds, pine warblers, swallow-tailed kite, wood storks (an endangered species), migrating hawks, red-cockaded woodpeckers, Bachman's sparrows, blue winged teals, woodstocks, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks and red-shouldered hawks in season. Wintering marbled godwits, snow geese, white pelicans and red headed ducks also stop over. Purple gallinules, terns, cormorants, brown pelicans and gulls loaf here year-round.
WAKULLA SPRINGS STATE PARK... is one of the deepest freshwater springs in the world and is a draw for gallinules, tricolor herons, limpkins, anhinga, nesting yellow-crowned night herons, pied-billed grebes, and great egrets. You may also see a few alligators and the endangered swamp cooter turtle on your trip here.
OCHLOCKONEE RIVER STATE PARK... is a beautiful and peaceful park situated at the confluence of the Ochlockonee and Dead Rivers and Big Ride Creek, just 10 miles from the coast and a short distance from Carrabelle. It provides productive birding with easy walking trails - where you may see the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker cavity trees, marked by white bands.
APALACHICOLA NATIONAL ESTUARINE RESERVE... during spring and fall migrations the wetland communities provide great birding spots. In certain areas, you may well observe a bald eagles or osprey over the water, as well as, wood duck, wading birds, red-shouldered hawk, barred owl, swallow tailed and Mississippi kites, hairy and pileated woodpeckers and Acadian flycatchers. In the pine flatwoods, look for brown-headed nuthatch, pine warbler, red-bellied woodpecker, southeastern American Kestrel, and Bachman's sparrows.
BALD POINT... tidal marshes along northwestern Bald Point offer unobstructed views over a flat terrain of needle rush and saw grass, and provide rich feeding grounds for land and sea birds such as bald eagles, osprey and migrant falcon.