Florida Keys & Dry Tortugas

Archaeopteryx Birding & Nature Tours works with Florida Nature Tours for multi-day boat trips to the Dry Tortugas!

Contact us for land birding before or after your amazing trip to the Dry Tortugas or for just a few days of land birding in the Florida Keys and Miami Area!

Archaeopteryx Birding & Nature Tours have many years of experience in South Florida and the Keys. We can also arrange day trip or overnight camping trip to Dry Tortugas National Park as part of your package.

 

DRY TORTUGAS OVERNIGHT BOAT TRIPS FOR 2020

Lead By:  Wes Biggs (Florida Nature Tours), Gallus Quigley (Archaeopteryx Birding & Nature Tours), and other great leaders!

Aboard:  M/V Playmate

Departing From:  Key West

The Destination & The Birds

Dry Tortugas National Park is the most remote park in the entire system.  Located 68 miles from Key West the park consists of 7 islands and 102 square miles of ocean and coral reefs. The Dry Tortugas is quite simply one of the world’s greatest birding destinations!!  For the North American or Florida lister it is a MUST BIRD place!! For the bird photographer it is spectacularly unique! The Florida peninsula and the Upper Keys are sub-tropical, but when you reach the town of Marathon on Key Vaca you enter the true tropics. There has never been a freeze recorded south of this location. A number of species reach their northernmost breeding range in the Keys and Dry Tortugas. The rare Antillean Nighthawk arrives in the lower keys to nest in the later half of April and is a regular migrant through the Tortugas. Brown Boobies, and Black Noddies are regular in the Tortugas as non-breeders and Red-footed Booby and White-tailed Tropicbirds are rare visitors as well. The Dry Tortugas is the only North American nesting location for the Magnificent Frigatebird, Masked Booby and Brown Noddy, and the only regular nesting site of the Sooty Tern. Migrating raptors and dozens of species of land birds are a great draw as well, but the lure of a stray from the Caribbean is like gold fever to the hardcore birder.

Photography

The photographic opportunities at Dry Tortugas are many and varied. Tropical species not found elsewhere in North America are great fun, but spring plumage migrants posing at very close range are just as exciting. Spectacular coral reefs and the most beautiful 19th century brick fort in the Western Hemisphere will keep you busy!

History

The human history of the Dry Tortugas began in 1513 when the islands were discovered by Ponce de Leon.

Construction on spectacular Ft. Jefferson began in 1846 and became the prison that held Dr. Samuel A. Mudd after he was convicted as one of the conspirators in President Lincoln’s murder. Every real history buff needs to visit this remarkable place.

 

How Do I Get To Key West?

By Air

Air service to Key West is available from the following carriers:

By Shuttle

One way we have found to be extremely successful for group travel is the Keys Shuttle from the Miami or Ft. Lauderdale’s Airport
Contact the Keys Shuttle at www.KeysShuttle.com

By Sea

Key West Express – www.seakeywestexpress.com from Ft. Myers Beach

Dates

Dry Tortugas I Wednesday April 15 thru Saturday April 18, 2020
Dry Tortugas II Saturday April 18 thru Tuesday April 21, 2020
Dry Tortugas III Tuesday April 26 thru Wednesday April 29, 2020 Led by Archaeopteryx Birding & Nature Tours
Dry Tortugas IV  Tuesday May 5 thru Friday May 8 , 2020
Dry Tortugas V  Friday May 8 thru Monday May 11, 2020
Price: $1395


Itinerary
        

Day 1

We start out about 10:00 AM with an optional day of birding in the Lower Florida Keys. Mangrove Cuckoo, Gray Kingbird, Black-whiskered Vireo & White-crowned Pigeon are a few of the targets. Those who will be flying in will be picked up at the airport. Try to arrange for an arrival before 10:00 AM if possible, or fly in the night before & get a hotel. We can assist with arrangements. Lunch & dinner in Key West is almost as much fun as the birding. The last few years have produced some great birds in Key West, with the first US record of Cuban Vireo last April being the biggest thrill. At 7:00 PM we’ll board the Playmate to meet the crew and have a general orientation.

Day 2

After an early morning departure we will start our search for pelagic species such as Audubon’s Shearwater, Bridled Tern and Band-rumped Storm-Petrel. We will arrive at the Dry Tortugas about mid-day. After lunch we will begin our exploration of Garden Key and beautiful Fort Jefferson. Thousands of Brown Noddies and Sooty Terns will be close at hand, Magnificent Frigatebirds will be hanging overhead and colorful migrants will be only feet away. Don’t forget your camera! A beautiful sunset & maybe a view of ‘The Green Flash’ and a night walk around the moat wall looking for sea creatures will round out the day.

Day 3

More birding at Fort Jefferson/Garden Key and a trip over to Loggerhead Key weather permitting. While enjoying lunch we will do a buoy run around the markers to the Dry Tortugas Marine Sanctuary looking for Roseate, Bridled, and Sooty Terns, get close up views of Brown Boobies and hopes for a Tropicbird flyby, followed by the Masked Boobies ‘fly in’ at Hospital Key which is always great fun. With a little luck we’ll see a Black Noddy today.

Day 4

Breakfast and a morning search of Fort Jefferson/Garden Key before we depart for Key West. With luck we may see some pelagic species before our arrival at around 3.00 PM.

The Boat

 The  motor vessel, M/V Playmate, is 60 feet long with  a twenty foot beam.  The vessel, a Gulfstream, is U.S. Coast Guard Inspected and powered by twin 8v92ti Detroit Diesel engines.

With an experienced and well-seasoned crew of 3 to 4, (2 licensed Captains) she sleeps 11 guests in four separate air conditioned staterooms.  There are two bathrooms with showers.

Your cuisine is prepared from the finest quality produce, meats and of course the freshest seafood you can get!

Please see this website for more information.

MV Playmate

 

The Price

Dry Tortugas Tour

$1395  per person

$300 deposit

Balance:  90 days prior to departure

Transportation, sleeping accommodations, all meals and leaders are included.

To reserve a space: eMail Florida Nature Tours or call B.B. in the office at 407-680-4780 or Wes’ cell at 407-376-6967, and use our Registration Page to fill out and submit the Registration Form.

We will be happy to answer any questions you may have- just call us, or fill out Contacts Form with your queries and we’ll get right back to you.

Cell: 407-376-6967     Email: infofloridanaturetours@gmail.com

 

Customizable 7-Day Dry Tortugas & Florida Keys Birding Tour

April 26 – May 3, 2019

Cost $1980.00 per person – double occupancy – Minimum 2 – Maximum 4

 

Join Archaeopteryx Birding and Nature Tours for a week-long tour South Florida and the Florida Keys. The boat trip and/or camping on the Dry Tortugas can be extended, reduced to a day trip only, or removed completely. This tour is designed for a small group of no more than 3 people.

Airport Pick-up and Drop-off available for Fort Lauderdale and Miami International Airports with prior arrangements.

April 26th- Arrive and get settled into our hotel in Coral Gables. Head to Brewer Park for Chestnut-fronted Macaw and Orange-winged Parrot roost. Dinner at Taco Rico.

April 27th- Miami Exotic Bird Day. We’ll spend the day chasing Yellow-chevroned, White-eyed, Scarlet-fronted, Green, Red-masked, Crimson-fronted, Mitred, and White-winged Parakeets, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Common Mynah, and Spot-breasted Oriole. Possibility for Lilac-crowned Parrots, Scaly-breasted Munia, and Blue-and-yellow Macaws. Break for lunch at the Titanic Brewery and dinner at Mario’s Cuban Cuisine in Homestead. Check into the hotel in Homestead/Florida City.

April 28th- Begin the morning at Lucky Hammock WMA and the Everglades National Park for spring migrants and any rarities that are being reported. Head to Navy Wells Pineland Preserve for Bartow’s Scrub-Hairstreak. Spend a second night in Homestead/Florida City.

April 29th- Begin the day birding at the Cardsound Bridge for the Caribbean race Golden Yellow Warbler and possible Shiny Cowbird. We will continue on to the Purplewing Trail to look for migrants, Mangrove Cuckoo, Florida Purplewing and Hammock and Mangrove Skippers. We’ll then visit Carysfort Circle for Black-whiskered Vireo, White-crowned Pigeon, Mangrove Cuckoo and other migrants, followed by Dangy Johnson State Botanical Park for any of the target we missed at previous locations. We will have a late lunch at Ballyhoo’s in Key Largo. After lunch we will drive to our hotel in the lower keys stopping in Marathon for Roseate and Least Terns at the government buildings.

April 30th- Birding the lower keys. Our first stop of the day will be Fort Zachary Taylor State Park for migrants and potential fallout. Depending on activity and time permitting, we may visit Boca Chica Beach for shorebirds, migrants and possible Neotropic Cormorant, Charles “Sonny” McCoy Indigenous Park, Key West Botanic Garden (migrants), Higgs Beach, the Key West Garden club and Sugarloaf & Saddlebunch Keys. Lunch at The Cafe and dinner at Hogfish Grill. Second night in hotel in the lower keys.

May 1st- Board the Yankee Freedom at 0700 and arrive at Fort Jefferson at 1030. Birding and Camping on Dry Tortugas National Park where we’ll see Sooty Terns, Brown Noddies, Brown and Masked Boobies, and migrants. Potential for Bridled Tern, Black Noddy, and other pelagic birds.

May 2nd- Make our way back up through the keys, stopping for anything that may have been missed. Stop for lunch at Mexicana Morada in Islamorada. Spend the night in Homestead/Florida City.

May 3rd- Travel home from Miami.

Price for this tour is $1980 double occupancy. Single occupancy rates available if interested. Price includes hotel, transportation, water, light snacks, all entry fees, camping and ferry fees, ebird checklists, and professional guide. Price does not include food, alcohol, or tips.

*Hotels in keys and ferry to the Dry Tortugas fill up quickly but will not be booked until clients are confirmed for the trip. Hotels will be in the mid-range category.

*Florida Nature Tours is offering 3-day/4-night Dry Tortugas birding tours on a fully furnished boat weather permitting. Visit www.floridanaturetours.net for pricing and information. Choose trip III from April 26th-April 30th to go with Archaeopteryx Birding & Nature Tours! Gallus Quigley is the tour leader for this trip with Florida Nature Tours.