ORLANDO NORTH, SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. (May 15, 2019) — Seminole County is for the birds. Lots and lots of them. Which means it’s for bird watchers, too. Located in central part of the state, Seminole County has long been a mecca for nature lovers who want to experience authentic Florida and still have easy access to Orlando and its nearby theme parks, which are just a few miles south.
Birders come from around the globe to witness (and photograph) winged creatures in their natural habitats. Seminole County abounds with protected areas and nature preserves, all of which are so generously populated with feathered friends that birders will never have to cry fowl.
It’s good to have a plan, though. Here is a list of prime birding spots, all of which exist within Seminole County’s borders.
• Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park — You could spend several hours or several days birding your way through the park’s 18,000 acres, which border six miles of the St. Johns River and four miles of the Wekiva River and Blackwater Creek. You’ll see: Bachman’s Sparrow, Bald Eagle, Limpkin, Sandhill Crane, Swallow-tailed Kite, Wood Stork.
• Lake Jesup Conservation Area: East Lake Jesup Tract — An important Seminole County water resource, the tract consists primarily of hardwood/sabal palm hammock, with some freshwater marsh along the shoreline. Includes a 1.4-mile loop trail. You’ll see: Bald Eagle, Limpkin, Sandhill Crane, Wood Stork.
• Wekiva River Buffer Conservation Area/Sabal Point Sanctuary — These two adjacent properties on 3,142 acres, owned by Audubon Florida and the St. Johns Water Management District, are a lush floodplain of hardwoods, ferns and sabal palms. Includes a three-mile foot and bike trail. You’ll see: Barred Owl, Red-shouldered Hawk, Wild Turkey, Veery, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Ovenbird, Northern Waterthrush, Swallow-tailed Kites.
• Little Big Econ State Forest: Demetree Tract — This 10,000-plus acre state forest at the convergence of the Econlockhatchee and Little Econlockhatchee rivers boasts more than 150 bird species, and includes parking, a visitor center, trails, a river boardwalk and more. You’ll see: Eastern Meadowlarks, Eastern Bluebirds, winter sparrows, raptors, Summer Tanagers, Blue Grosbeaks, Black-throated Blue Warblers, Red-eyed Vireos.
• Geneva Wilderness Area — Part of the county’s innovative natural lands program, this paradise offers two main trails with gentle paths amid prairie ponds, hardwoods, oak, sand pine scrub and flatwoods. You’ll see: Bald Eagle, Sandhill Crane, Swallow-tailed Kite, Wood Stork.
• Lake Proctor Wilderness Area — This 475-acre oasis near the town of Geneva feature six miles of trails, with linked loops, through sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, sandhill and bayhead swamp. You’ll see: Wood ducks, wading birds including Sandhill Cranes, Wilson’s Snipe, Least Bittern, raptors and winter sparrows.
• Little Big Econ State Forest: Kilbee — This 1,646-acre tract abuts the St. Johns River; note that the walk to it is in full sun. You’ll see: Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Least Bittern, wintering American White Pelicans, shorebirds Black-necked Stilt, Pectoral Sandpiper and Long-billed Dowitcher.
• Lake Jesup Wilderness Area — Situated on the north shore of Lake Jesup, adjacent to Lake Jesup Park. This is a low-lying site, so check for the water level — the trails can be underwater at times. You’ll see: Great Horned Owls, White Ibis, Red-shouldered Hawks, winter sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks, Marsh Rabbits, Barred Owls, Ospreys, Bald Eagles, Marsh and Sedge Wrens.
• Audubon Center for Birds of Prey — Located in Maitland, which held the state’s first Audubon Society meeting on March 2, 1900, this facility focuses on the rescue, medical treatment, rehab and release of Florida’s raptors. It’s a terrific educational opportunity for birders. You could call it a must-visit. While there, step into the Audubon House, a 1920s veranda bungalow that’s a vanishing breed in Florida. It’s located on three acres on southeast shore of Lake Sybelia.
About Orlando North, Seminole County:
Teeming with old Florida charm and young Florida vibrancy, Orlando North, Seminole County offers visitors nature-based attractions, eclectic dining, a booming micro brew scene, plus a year round calendar of festivals and events. With over 2,000 waterways, you’ll discover a wide array of thrilling outdoor activities from paddling in clear freshwater springs and rivers to airboating among alligators, or zooming through an aerial zip line course. It also features an array of sports and training facilities for amateur tournament play, including the 102-acre Boombah Sports Complex at Seminole County. And getting here is easy via Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), Orlando International Airport (MCO), aboard the Amtrak Auto Train, or via auto on I-95 and I-4; and you’ll save 30% on accommodations over Orlando and beachfront hotels. All this and it’s less than an hour’s drive to area theme parks and beaches too. 1-800-800-7832 or 407-665-2900 or visit: www.DoOrlandoNorth.com