Suwannee River Birdwatching
Birdwatching - Wonder at Wildlife
The diverse blending of natural zones at the confluence of the Suwannee River estuary and the Gulf of Mexico creates an unusually rich wildlife environment. Largely undisturbed by development and protected by the Lower Suwannee Wildlife Refuge the area is home to over 250 species of bird. Enjoy a wildlife cruise in hopes of seeing alligators, sturgeon, tarpon, and bottlenose dolphin, at the mouth of the river. Manatees are seen in the river, creeks, and canals during the warmer months of the year. They migrate up river, to the springs, when the water temperature starts dropping into the 70's.
The near-shore Gulf waters of the Suwannee Sound, rich with nutrients from the river create excellent habitat for fish, shrimp and shellfish and attracts thousands of shorebirds such as pelicans, heron, egrets and diving ducks feed in the marshes, tidal flats and oyster bars. Raptors, including osprey, bald eagles, red-shouldered hawk and the seasonal swallow-tailed kites, sail the skies above the river and Gulf. East Pass, a broad, winding arm of the river populated with tall cypress, is a nesting area for osprey, while both osprey and bald eagles nest in the old growth trees of the tiny Islands dotting the shallow near-shore Gulf waters.
Often hidden among the tangled roots of cypress, spicy-scented sweet bay and myrtle along the river and estuary creeks, an ever-changing display delights wildflower lovers with splashes of multi-colorful lantana, spider lily, morning glory, or in spring, brilliant purple iris with hearts as yellow as butter. In upland communities, look for wild air plants and Spanish moss festooning the trees.