Dry Tortugas: Apr 21—24, 2014

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Price: $1,695
Departs: Key West
Tour Limit: 11
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Itinerary: PDF (83.3 KB)

Route Map

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Tour Leaders

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Michael O'Brien

Michael O'Brien is a freelance artist, author, and environmental consultant living in Cape M...


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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas

Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas— Photo: Brennan Mulrooney

Unique birding experience to a tropical island outpost features nesting colonies of terns, boobies, and frigatebirds; high potential for migrating warblers and many other songbirds; and the rich history of Civil War-era Fort Jefferson.

Seventy miles west of Key West, Florida lies a cluster of coralline islands known as the Dry Tortugas. Along with the surrounding shoals and waters of the Gulf of Mexico, these sandy outposts form the core of Dry Tortugas National Park. As the only tropical islands associated with the mainland United States, the Tortugas are most famous for the colonies of seabirds that nest here and nowhere else in the country.

On tiny Bush Key, birders can witness the gathering of tens of thousands of Sooty Terns and Brown Noddies, while nearby Hospital Key and Long Key are home to smaller but equally remarkable colonies of Masked Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds.

Garden Key, site of historic Fort Jefferson and headquarters of the national park, serves as a vital oasis for migrating land birds including warblers (more than 15 species possible), thrushes, cuckoos, orioles, buntings, and more. Scouring the key for migrants, there is always the possibility of finding a West Indian stray. Past tours have seen White-tailed Tropicbird, Red-footed Booby, Black Noddy, La Sagra’s Flycatcher, Bahama Mockingbird, and Bananaquit.

Travel to the Tortugas is by boat; smooth conditions expected but rough water possible; sunny and hot weather likely, with rain storms possible.