Kite Tales - November 2017

ISSUE NUMBER 17 • November 2017

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Kite Tales

the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail's monthly newsletter

Lori Mathis from Winter Springs has earned all our new certificates!

Wings Over Florida Updates


We no longer require applicants to submit their checklists when applying for the first four certificate levels for both the bird and butterfly program. For more information visit our rules pages for the bird and butterfly program.


We have improved the online application forms for the bird and butterfly program. It takes less than 2 minutes to fill each form out. So apply today if you have seen 25 or more bird species in Florida and 10 or more butterfly species in Florida.

Wings Over Florida birds program

Wings Over Florida butterfly program



The Public Access Services Office of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is evaluating the Wings Over Florida program. 

Help improve the Wings Over Florida program by taking the following survey!

fall flowers at Bald Point State Park by Andy Wraithmell

Fall Colors

When you think of “fall colors” you usually think of the orange, gold, and red of the leaves of deciduous trees in autumn. Loads of Floridians travel to North Carolina and points north to “leaf-peep” and folks who have moved to Florida often lament our lack of such vibrant foliage. It does exist in certain places! Florida’s fall color, though, is not just in its foliage, but in the wildflowers and butterflies that become so abundant in fall. Deep orange monarch, viceroy, and Gulf fritillary butterflies flit among purple blazing-star, gold sunflowers, and bright pink false foxglove. Just look at the roadsides and open fields. If you still think Florida doesn’t have any fall color, you can’t see the forest for the trees!

November is the best month to experience Florida's fall foliage, here are some suggestions. 

Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park for spectacular maple colors!

Apalachicola Bluffs has beautiful colors set against breathtaking scenery!

Torreya State Park for fall foliage.

Wekiwa Springs State Park for beautiful fall refelctions.

white-throated sparrow by Andy Wraithmell

Winter sparrows

One question we often get asked is, “Where can I go to see winter sparrows in Florida?”

Head to the Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area in the panhandle for these skulky winter visitors. The Old Agricultural Fields in Wewahitchka in Gulf County provide habitat for as many as 10 different species of sparrow including White-throated, White-crowned, Vesper, Field, Grasshopper, Swamp and Savannah. Lucky birders may find a Le Conte’s or Henslow’s Sparrow.

The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTMNERR) in Saint John’s County provides winter habitat for two of the toughest sparrows to find and identify; Nelson’s and Saltmarsh Sparrows (Flickr ID guide). Ask at the visitor center for information on where to look for the sparrows.

Heading to Gainesville this winter? If yes, be sure to visit Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park, one of the best all-around birding sites in the southeastern US. Sparrowing at the prairie can be very rewarding. Hike the La Chua trail for a chance to see White-crowned, Vesper, Grasshopper, Song and Swamp Sparrows. Eight years ago, a Harris’s Sparrow was present, attracting birders from all over the state.

South Florida doesn’t attract as big a variety of sparrows as the rest of Florida but it can be rewarding if you go to the right places. One such place is Frog Pond Wildlife Management Area or “Lucky Hammock”, as it is most commonly referred to by local birders. Both Grasshopper and Lincoln’s Sparrows have been recorded in winter, as well as Clay-colored and Lark Sparrow. Be sure to check out the nearby Southern Glades Wildlife and Environmental Area as well.


Top 30 most wanted

Visit our website for more information on Florida's most wanted bird species. Each page has a link to an eBird range map so you can see where and when each iconic bird species are being reported. Handy for planning your next Florida birding adventure.

Top 30 Birds webpages


  • Wings Over Florida
  • Fall Colors
  • Winter Sparrows
  • Top 30 birds


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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