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Birding on Amelia and Cumberland Islands and in the Okefenokee Swamp

Program Number: 14147RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/14/2013 - 4/19/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Fernandina Beach, Florida
Price starting at: $858.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Situated along the Eastern Migratory Flyway, this is a birder's paradise. Habitats include open ocean, beach dunes, grasslands, maritime hammock, depression marsh, and estuarine tidal marsh. Amelia's rich and fish-filled waters create a veritable gold mine for birds. Visitors to the beautiful barrier island of Cumberland may encounter shorebirds, warblers, and hawks but keep an eye out for the wood stork, peregrine falcon, American oystercatcher, American redstart and painted bunting.




Highlights

• Join experts to explore and discover fascinating bird communities.
• Boat into the Okefenokee Swamp where virtually all species of wading birds and waterfowl native to the Southeast can be found during some season.
• Hike Cumberland and Amelia Islands and explore historic Fernandina Beach.



Activity Particulars

Day trip and hike 3.5 miles; Okefenokee boardwalk 1.5 miles round trip; Amelia Island birding walk 1-3 miles, uneven terrain.



So you can get the most out of your experience, all of our birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1.



Coordinated by Center for Educational Adventure.




Fernandina Beach

This is the largest town on beautiful Amelia Island, the southernmost of the Sea Islands that trail down the Carolina and Georgia coasts. The Victorian element of Fernandina Beach's 4,000-year history is on view in the 50-block historic district.



Accommodations
Hotel in historic center of Amelia Island overlooking Intracoastal Waterway.
Meals and Lodgings
   Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
  Fernandina Beach, FL 5 nights
 Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Type: Hotel
  Description: Near Atlantic Ocean beach - three tenths of a mile - easy 5 minute walk Evening Reception Swimming Pool Pets Allowed-extra charge Kitchenette Interior Corridors Local restaurants within easy walking distance Barb que and/or picnic area
  Contact info: 2301 Sadler Road
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034 USA
phone: 904-277-2440
web: residenceinnameliaisland.com
  Room amenities: Alarm Clock, Coffee maker/tea service, individual climate control, iron and board Luxury bedding-crisp linens, thicker mattresses, custom comforters, fluffier pillows Pillows: down/feather Pillows: foam Pull-out sofa bed Roll away bed
  Facility amenities: Swimming Pool Non-smoking High-Speed Internet Pets Allowed Kitchenette Fitness Facility All-Suites Property Dry Cleaning/Laundry Meeting Rooms Interior Corridors
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call hotel for seasonal rates. Participants are responsible for making additional nights reservations.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call hotel for seasonal rates. Participants are responsible for making additional nights reservations.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check-in, 4 p.m. at hotel in Fernandina Beach, FL. You will be staying at Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island that night.
  End of Program:
Check-out, 11 a.m. at hotel in Fernandina Beach, FL. You will be staying at Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. If you have a Senior Pass, Golden Age Passport or National Parks Pass, please bring it with you.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free at hotel for the duration of the program.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Fernandina Beach, FL
  Nearest city or town:  Jacksonville, FL
  Nearest highway: I-95
  Nearest airport:  Jacksonville International Airprt
  From End of Program
  Location: Fernandina Beach, FL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Jacksonville, FL to Fernandina Beach, FL

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
ACE Transportation Group Incorporated
phone: 904-225-8888
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $47 total for the van/shuttle up to 6 people.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

35 - 40 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

25 - 30 miles

   

ACE Transportation Group Incorporated 850674 Us-17 Yulee, FL 32097

 

To Fernandina Beach from Jacksonville, FL

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
GO Airport Shuttle
phone: 904-353-8880
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$35 for 1-3 people, $8 for each additional person. Return trip to airport is a $55 flat rate.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

35 - 40 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

25 - 30 miles

   

Call for most recent pricing. www.gojacksonvilleairportshuttle.com/ 5320 Springfield Blvd Jacksonville, FL

 
Driving Directions
  To Residence Marriott at Amelia Island -North to South on I-95 Take Exit 380, US-17 South toward Yulee. Turn left onto US-17/FL-5S. Take SR200 E/SR A1A toward Yulee/Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach. After the Shave Bridge, turn right at the 2nd traffic light onto Sadler Road/CR-108. Hotel will be located on your left - approximately 1.5 miles.
  To Residence Marriott at Amelia Island from I-95 driving south Take Exit 373, Callahan/Fernandina Exit. Take SR200 E/SR A1A toward Yulee/Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach. After the Shave Bridge, turn right at the 2nd traffic light onto Sadler Road/CR-108. Hotel will be located on your left - approximately 1.5 miles.
Equipment Requirements: Binoculars
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Registration/Orientation and Get Acquainted
(Sunday, April 14)
   
 Afternoon: Participants may pick up nametag and schedule for the week anytime between 4:00 - 5:00 PM followed by orientation and dinner in the hotel conference room. Guests hotel check-in is 4:00 pm in the main lobby.
 Dinner: Catered meal at hotel.
 Evening: Your Road Scholar coordinator will walk you through the weeks activities as you follow along on your schedule. Each person gives their name and where they're from. We don't play name games or get acquainted games. You'll have plenty of time to get to know one another during your weeks activities.
   
Accommodations: Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Huguenot Park/Kingsley Plantation/Talbot Island State Park
(Monday, April 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: These are great birding areas for shorbirds, waders, and ducks. You will also explore Fort George Island and the grounds of Kingsley Plantation. Field trip to Big Talbot and Little Talbot Islands for more birding. Located on one of the sea islands unique to Northeast Florida, this is primarily a natural preserve and a premier location for nature study, bird watching, and photography. Little Talbot Island is one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands in NE Florida.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch provided.
 Afternoon: Field trip continues.
 Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant in historic downtown Fernandina. Enjoy walking around the tiny village of Fernandina.
   
Accommodations: Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Cumberland Island Birding
(Tuesday, April 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Ferry to Cumberland Island for a day of birding on one of the most beautiful barrier islands off the coast of Georgia. There is a large population of wild turkeys and dove, and great horned owls ply the forest before dawn. During the day, pileated (crested) woodpeckers and redheaded woodpeckers are easy to spot as they swoop from tree to tree and hop along the tree trunks in search of insects. Warblers and other songbirds also enjoy Cumberland Island's protected forests. Peregrine and other falcons can be spotted migrating in late October and November. Other birds of prey that can be seen on Cumberland are the magnificent ospreys and an occasional bald eagle. Both species have nested on the Island. In the marshes and along the creeks, snowy egrets, great egrets, great blue and little blue herons and small (and not so common) green herons can be easily watched as they feed on aquatic life. The dramatic wood storks are also a joy to observe with a wingspan of approximately five and one-half feet. White pelicans can occasionally be seen on the spoil banks along the St. Mary's River coming to the Island. Formerly an endangered species, the brown pelicans along the Atlantic coast line have made a dramatic recovery. They can be seen primarily on the beach, although they also feed in the rivers on the western edge of the Island. White pelicans feed by scooping fish when swimming, while the brown pelicans make dramatic plunges from the air for meals. Out on the beach, the bird life is very lively. Year-round residents such as the oyster-catchers and ring-billed gulls share the surf with semi-palmated plovers, royal terns, laughing and blackbacked gulls—and lots of sandpipers. In winter, rare purple sandpipers can be seen singly or in pairs on rock habitats and around pilings. On calm, clear days, rafts of scoters, small, darkcolored diving ducks, can be observed floating contentedly on the water near the shore.
 Lunch: Sack lunch provided. Take any extra snacks or bottled water with you. Your lunch includes one bottled water. There are no stores on Cumberland Island.
 Afternoon: Field trip continues. We will depart Cumberland Island at 4:45 pm and arrive back at the hotel at 6 - 6:15 pm.
 Dinner: Dinner at a popular island restaurant across the street from our hotel.
 Evening: Free evening to persue your own personal interest. You are three tenths of a mile from the beach, about a five minute walk.
   
Accommodations: Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Fort Clinch, Amelia River Cruise
(Wednesday, April 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: At the northernmost point on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, separated from Georgia by the St. Marys River, lies Fort Clinch State Park, the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail’s northernmost gateway. This “must-see” park allows visitors to sample a wide spectrum of Florida’s bird species and habitats – from migratory songbirds in maritime forests, to salt marshes teeming with rails and wading birds, to beach and ocean replete with shorebirds and seabirds galore. Don’t miss the opportunity to bird from atop the fort’s brick walls for an elevated, panoramic view of Cumberland Sound. Other species of interest on the park’s checklist are Gull-billed Tern, Wood Stork, Roseate Spoonbill, Magnificent Frigatebird, Piping Plover, Salt Marsh Skipper and Juniper Hairstreak.
 Lunch: Lunch at a popular downtown restaurant.
 Afternoon: Amelia's rich and fish-filled waters create a veritable gold mine for birds. Habitats include open ocean, beach dunes, grasslands, maritime hammock, depression marsh, and estuarine tidal marsh. Enjoy a cruise on a covered pontoon boat with our participants as the only guest on-board.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Presentation TBA.
   
Accommodations: Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Okefenokee Swamp Birding/Social/Farewell
(Thursday, April 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: All day birding in the Okefenokee Swamp. Boat fleet consists of 24’ Carolina Skiffs with canopies overhead and includes a wheelchair-accessible boat. Watch birds through what is arguably the world's most famous birding window, trek into one of the most unusual and interesting places to see in the Okefenokee Swamp where hundreds of wading birds return to roost for the night. Search for warblers and thrushes and try to locate tiny songsters flitting in the tops of centuries-old cypress trees. Along the way you can see the rarest of the rare, the red-cockaded woodpecker; wild turkeys, wading birds such as wood storks, ring-necked ducks and other waterfowl, hear the Bob-white call of the northern bobwhite, see blue grosbeaks and indigo buntings looking much like brightly colored ornaments hung on shrubs growing in field borders, as well as Mississippi kites, ospreys and bald eagles exhibit their mastery of the air. All told, 263 species of birds have been identified at sites along the trail. We can't promise you'll see all of them but we do know they have been sited before and it may be your turn on this Road Scholar program.
 Lunch: Hamburger cookout in the Okenenokee Swamp.
 Afternoon: Continuation of birding in the Okefenokee Swamp.
 Dinner: Dinner at a popular island restaurant. We will dine together and say our farewells and share stories about the weeks adventure.
   
Accommodations: Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Optional Greenway Hike
(Friday, April 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Optional early morning walk on the Egan's Creek Greenway. Over 300 acres that run north to south along Egans Creek, the Greenway was opened for public use in the summer of 2000 as an undeveloped park for passive recreational use. Its grass-covered roads are suitable for walking and bicycling and its environment exhibits a variety of natural wildlife and vegetation. You may choose to take one more look out for birds on the Greenway, located directly behind your hotel.
 Lunch: Program ends at your own discretion. No formal class. Hotel check-out is 11 am.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach


Author: Ron Kurtz


Description: Eight flag history with contemporary photographs/Adult....Older children can benefit from the photography and the story



Cumberland Island: A History


Author: Mary Bullard


Description: Author Mary Bullard, widely regarded as the person most knowledgeable about Cumberland Island, is a descendant of the Carnegie family, Cumberland's last owners before it was acquired by the federal government in 1972 and designated a National Seashore. Bullard's discussion of the Carnegie era on Cumberland is notable for its intimate glimpse into how the family's feelings toward the island bore upon Cumberland's destiny.



Images of Amelia Island


Author: Rob Hicks in association with the Amelia island Museum of History


Description: Light text with historic photographs, many from the Museum's collection/ Adult...Older children can benefit from the photography



The Golden Age of Amelia Island, Revised


Author: Suzanne Davis Hardee and Kathleen Davis Hardee Arsenault


Description: Late 19th Century history/Adult



The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America


Author: David Allen Sibley


Description: Description: The Sibley Guide to Birds has quickly become the new standard of excellence in bird identification guides, covering more than 810 North American birds in amazing detail. Now comes a new portable guide from David Sibley that every birder will want to carry into the field. Compact and comprehensive, this new guide features 650 bird species plus regional populations found east of the Rocky Mountains. Accounts include stunningly accurate illustrations—more than 4,200 in total—with descriptive caption text pointing out the most important field marks. Each entry contains new text concerning frequency, nesting, behavior, food and feeding, voice description, and key identification features. Accounts also include brand-new maps created from information contributed by 110 regional experts across the continent. The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America is an indispensable resource for all birders seeking an authoritative and portable guide to the birds of the East.



Trembling Earth: A Cultural History of the Okefenokee Swamp


Author: Megan Kate Nelson


Description: This innovative history of the Okefenokee Swamp reveals it as a place where harsh realities clashed with optimism, shaping the borderland culture of southern Georgia and northern Florida for over two hundred years. From the formation of the Georgia colony in 1732 to the end of the Great Depression, the Okefenokee Swamp was a site of conflict between divergent local communities. Coining the term "ecolocalism" to describe how local cultures form out of ecosystems and in relation to other communities, Megan Kate Nelson offers a new view of the Okefenokee, its inhabitants, and its rich and telling record of thwarted ambitions, unintended consequences, and unresolved questions.





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