In spring, Wakulla County offers the opportunity to view a diverse array of returning neotropical migrants in fresh breeding plumage and find resident birds already singing on territory.
Wakulla County has over two hundred species of residents, lingering winter birds, returning nesters and migrants. Spring wildflowers attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, hungry after a long Gulf crossing. Shorebirds and swallows pass through on their journey North. You may find Painted Buntings mixed in with flocks of indigo Buntings on especially good mornings.
March and April are prime migration months on the Gulf coast, and Wakulla County’s strategic location and wealth of accessible public lands make it a convenient base for exploring the area. Migrant birds crossing from the Yucatan peninsula mix with birds migrating through the Caribbean and the Florida peninsula to create a diverse avian mix to enjoy.
Great Places in Wakulla County for Birding
- Fallouts on the Wakulla coast can result in sightings of tanagers, grosbeaks, orioles, eighteen species of transiting marbles and four returning residents warblers as migrants stop to feed and rest.
- Check out Tower Pond Trail or along Wakulla Beach Road in the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.
- Bird the trails at Wakulla Springs State park, where you can also find nesting Prothonotary and Hooded Warblers before taking the River Boat tour for close-up views of swamp birds and manatees.
- Early risers can start the day at the Lighthouse Levee Trail on the Refuge or Mashes Sands County Park and watch as hundreds of Common Loons take off on their return flight to the North County.
- Try the Wakulla River for Limpkin and check the mid-morning skies for mixed flocks of returning Mississippi and Swallow-tailed Kites, as you head inland to Ochlocknee River State Park to find singing Bachman’s Sparrows and nesting Red-cockaded Woodpeckers.
For the spring birder, Wakulla County provides a remarkable array of birding opportunities with easy access to riding sites, great local restaurants serving fresh seafood and reasonably priced accommodations.
This article first appeared in Birding Digest, written by Wakulla County resident and birding enthusiast, Don Morrow