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Birding on Amelia and Cumberland Islands and in the Okefenokee Swamp

Program Number: 14147RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/13/2014 - 4/18/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Fernandina Beach, Florida
Price starting at: $1,099.00 - 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
   Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina
  Fernandina Beach, FL 5 nights
 Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina
Type: Hotel
  Description: “HISTORIC HARBOR FRONT HOTEL” offers quality accommodations, friendly and efficient service in clean, comfortable surroundings. Charm, Elegance and Southern Hospitality. All that and more, welcome you as soon as you step onto the hardwood floors of our lobby and take in the elegant winding staircase and hand-painted artwork highlighting Amelia Island's history. Sit and relax in the comfortable lounge area near the fireplace and enjoy coffee or tea and fresh baked cookies every afternoon. Our friendly staff is waiting to welcome you to the Harbor Front Hampton Inn & Suites on Amelia Island. Greet the morning with scenic harbor views in our Breakfast Cafe where our friendly and attentive staff presents a full hot breakfast buffet. It's a perfect place to enjoy that a morning cup of coffee, tea or juice as well as fresh fruit and waffles. The 25 feet high windows give our Cafe an open and airy feel and create a great gathering place for our guests. Comfortable seating invites you to play a game of checkers, catch up on your reading or watch a movie or the game on the 55" inch LED TV. Come back in the evening for our manager's reception and take in the sunset views over the harbor. Enjoy over 50 restaurants and specialty shops, ALL within waking distance of the hotel. We are just 1˝ blocks from the Amelia Island Museum of History, which offers daily tours of the Downtown Historic area. Bike rentals, carriage rides, and ghost tours are also popular downtown activities. If relaxation is your preference, white sandy beaches are just minutes away.
  Contact info: 19 South 2nd Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034 USA
phone: 904-491-4911
web: www.hamptoninnandsuitesameliaisland.com/
  Room amenities: Rooms have HBO and cable TV, data ports, voice mail and multi-line speakerphones, coffee pots with complimentary coffee packets each day.
  Facility amenities: Complimentary 50+ item breakfast buffet, upper deck pool. King or two queen beds in each room, HBO and cable TV, data ports, voice mail and multi-line speakerphones. On-site guest business office with Internet access, conference facilities, guest laundry, gift shop, fitness center and wireless internet more. •Fitness Room •Pool
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Seasonal rates - call hotel Participant is responsible for making their own reservations if arriving early or staying over after the program ends. Call hotel for availability and seasonal rates.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Seasonal rates - call hotel Participant is responsible for making their own reservations if arriving early or staying over after the program ends. Call hotel for availability and seasonal rates.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check-in, 4 p.m. at hotel in Fernandina Beach, FL. You will be staying at Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina that night.
  End of Program:
Check-out, 11 a.m. at hotel in Fernandina Beach, FL. You will be staying at Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Health/Information form must be returned to Center for Educational Adventure before start of program. This form will be included in your preparatory material that will be sent to you in advance of the program.
  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 Airport
  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
GO Airport Shuttle
phone: 904-353-8880
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$47 for 1 person, $8 for each additional person. Return trip to airport is $55 up to three people.
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

35 - 40 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

25 - 30 miles

   

Call for most recent pricing. www.gojacksonvilleairportshuttle.com/ Round trip rate is $90 for up to three people.

 

Jacksonville, FL to Fernandina Beach, FL

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Amelia Island Shuttle and Transportation
phone: 904-753-6480
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$47 one way; $94 round trip up to 6 people no additional cost
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

35 - 40 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

25 - 30 miles

 
Driving Directions
  I-95 to Downtown Hampton Inn & Suites, Fernandina Beach, FL Take Exit 373 to Amelia Island. Head east on A1A for 16 miles. You will see signs along the way, directing you to drive straight ahead into the downtown historic district. After crossing the bridge to the island, look on your left for Ash Street (it is one block after the 6th light on the Amelia Island), turn left. At Second Street, turn right. (The hotel blends into the historic atmosphere.) Hampton Inn & Suites is located at 19 S. Second Street, and is a multi-colored, 4-story stucco building. If you need assistance, the hotel phone number is 904-491-4911.
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, Get Acquainted, Birding Orientation
(Sunday, April 13)
   
 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 group leader will go over the daily schedule for your week of birding followed by a birding orientation presented by your expert birder.
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Huguenot Park/Kingsley Plantation/Talbot Island State Park
(Monday, April 14)
   
 Breakfast: Plentiful breakfast buffet at the hotel in the Garden Room.
 Morning: Visit birding areas known for shorebirds, waders, and ducks. You will also explore Fort George Island and the grounds of Kingsley Plantation.
 Lunch: Lunch at hotel/local restaurant or picnic.
 Afternoon: 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.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel or at one of the downtown restaurants located in the historic district.
 Evening: Lecture or entertainment
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Ferry to Cumberland Island For All Day Field Trip, Free Evening
(Tuesday, April 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast
 Morning: Ferry to Cumberland Island for a day of birding on one of the most beautiful barrier islands off the coast of Georgia. Cumberland Island National Seashore is a beautiful, largely undeveloped 36,000-acre barrier island. Access is by ferry or private boat. Extensive salt marshes border the island to the west, and 16 miles of pristine, white-sand beaches border Cumberland on the east. The island hosts an amazing variety of wildlife and plant communities. A total of 322 species of birds have been seen on the island. Types of Birds: Songbirds, shorebirds, wading birds, waterfowl, gull-like birds Best Birding Seasons: Songbirds (spring and fall), shorebirds (all), wading birds (all), waterfowl (winter), gull-like birds (all) Specialties: Peregrine falcon, painted bunting, red knot, black skimmer, warblers Tips: Look for peregrine falcons during fall migration. Painted buntings are common in summer. Shorebirds are best seen in summer, winter and spring. Warblers can be seen during fall and spring migrations. Piping plovers may be spotted on the beach in winter. Bring along, beverages, sunscreen, rain gear and other necessities because the island has no stores.
 Lunch: We will be taking a sack lunch to Cumberland. There are no restaurants or stores on the island.
 Afternoon: Field trip continues.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Free evening after a long day on Cumberland that is rewarding and well worth it.
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Fort Clinch, Amelia River Cruise, Rare and Endangered Species
(Wednesday, April 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the Garden Room.
 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. As we follow the canopy road into the park, we'll stop periodically and check the hammock and neighboring marsh for warblers, waders, wrens and sparrows. Shaded bicycle and foot paths parallel both sides of the entrance road for several miles. 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 restaurant in Fernandina.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we will board a covered pontoon boat for an Amelia River Cruise that takes you along salt marshes, wilderness beaches, and historic river banks. Dolphins, sea turtles, manatees, egrets, herons, spoonbills, and osprey meld with shrimping history of the area.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Rare and Endangered Species of the Region will be the subject matter for the evening presentation given by your birding instructor.
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Okefenokee Swamp Birding/Social/Farewell
(Thursday, April 17)
   
 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: Picnic lunch at the Okenenokee Swamp.
 Afternoon: Continuation of birding in the Okefenokee Swamp.
 Dinner: Dinner at Hotel
 Evening: Social and farewell
   
Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Egan Creek Greenway, Conclusion
(Friday, April 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Take one last time to experience nature on Egans 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. As in any natural area, many different kinds of creatures live, nest, feed, and find safety in the Greenway. Depending on the season and time of day, you may see a river otter, bobcat, alligator, or birds such as the great blue heron, egrets, anhinga, bald eagle, osprey, roseate spoonbill, and more.
 Lunch: Program ends at 11:00 am. Hotel check-out is 11:00 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.


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