Kite Tales - September 2017


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Kite Tales

the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail's monthly newsletter

peacock spring
Peacock Spring by Whitney Gray

Trail Site of the Month

Our staff recently visited Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park in Suwannee County. This beautiful state park is conveniently located 20 miles south of Live Oak, which is approximately 90 miles east of Tallahassee and 90 miles north-west of Gainesville. Shaded trails provide access to old-growth maple forest, bottomland forest, and several freshwater springs and sinkholes. The main spring is surrounded by wildflowers, which attract a plethora of butterfly species. Zebra Longwing are very common and staff also spotted Texan Crescent, Hackberry Emperor and Giant Swallowtail. The area around Olsen Sink was productive for birds; Northern Waterthrush, Black-and-white Warblers, Hooded Warbler and Pileated Woodpecker were present and, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo foraged high above the trail. This family-friendly site is a great place to visit for a few hours. Don’t forget your bathing suit though…the crystal-clear spring water provides respite on a hot sunny day!

Park Address: 18081 185th Road, Live Oak, FL 32060

Contact: (386) 776-2194

Park Hours: 8am to sunset

Zebra Longwing by Andy Wraithmell
Roseate Spoonbill by Jack Rogers

Where to find Spoonies!

The Roseate Spoonbill is one of our most popular Top 30 birds, so we’re told. Their beautiful plumage and fascinating but bizarre-shaped bill immediately catches the eye, making for a memorable encounter. Photographers are drawn to “spoonie” flocks like moths to a flame and a quick search on the internet will reveal a plethora of spectacular images. So, where can I go to see spoonbills? We thought you’d never ask!

West Section

The Tampa Bay area is a great place to look for spoonbills. They are often reported from Fort De Soto Park and Weedon Island Preserve in Pinellas County and, Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve in Hillsborough County.

East Section

Blackpoint Wildlife Drive and Biolab road at Merritt Island National Wildlife Drive are both excellent locations for enjoying flocks of spoonbills. Guana River Wildlife Management Area in St. Johns County is another excellent site; look for them in the Big and Little Savannah impoundments. Finally, the appropriately named “Spoonbill Pond” located at the north end of Big Talbot Island State Park in Duval County, is another great site to observe spoonbills especially in late summer/early fall.

South Section

The wildlife drive at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island has long been a Roseate Spoonbill hotspot. Tip: Go early in the morning to beat the crowds. If crowds aren’t your thing, a trip to the southern end of Everglades National Park can be a rewarding spoonbill experience. Don’t forget your bug spray though! In the evening, flocks of spoonbills can be seen flying overhead at the Flamingo visitor center area. For the more intrepid, a paddle out to Gibby Point will be rewarded with flocks of 100 or more spoonies. What a sight that must be! You never know you might see an American Flamingo as well.

Roseate Spoonbill by Andy Wraithmell

Events: September 2017


September 9 - Wings Over Florida at Joe Budd WMA

September 21 to 25Birding Festival of the Keys

September 23 – Wings Over Florida butterfly walk at Deering Estate

picture by Andy Wraithmell

Nature is Closer than you think!

We tend to think that we have to go far afield (literally) to see birds and wildlife, but the truth is they’re all around us. Urban and suburban living can make us a bit “bird-blind” overlooking the birds and wildlife that are even in our own backyards. City parks, even in very dense urban areas, act as refuges or oases for wildlife, and given their proximity to our homes and workplaces, these parks can be great places to take a relaxing walk and get back in touch with nature. Since these parks are usually equipped with amenities like playgrounds or ball fields, they also provide a place to introduce children to wildlife viewing. You don’t have to find a rare species to make it rewarding – children love watching lizards darting in and out of pathways or counting mourning doves on wires overhead. Studies show that children have memorable experiences with the nature that’s easy for them to access, like neighborhood parks. Try using our Trip Planner to find a neighborhood park near your home or office. Enjoy the outdoors wherever you find it!


  • Trail Site of the Month
  • Spoonbills
  • September events
  • Trip Planner


The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail (GFBWT) is a network of 510 sites spread throughout the state. The Trail is a program of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, supported in part by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida. The Trail is possible thanks to dozens of federal, state, and local government agencies, non-governmental organizations and private landowners. Continued, broad-based support and grassroots community investment will continue to make the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail a success for Florida and for our feathered friends.



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