A wonderful place for bird observation is Spoonbill Pond, located at Amelia Island’s southern doorstep. A schedule of once-a-month free guided tours of Spoonbill Pond has been announced by the North Florida Land Trust and co-sponsor, Friends of Talbot Islands State Parks.
There are seven monthly tours beginning in October 2019 and continuing through April 2020. See dates listed further below, with link to register online for a free tour.
Big Talbot Island
Spoonbill Pond is just across the Nassau Sound from Amelia Island State Park. Simply depart Amelia Island’s south end along First Coast Highway, cross the Nassau Sound bridge, to arrive on neighboring Big Talbot Island State Park (an undeveloped barrier island). Spoonbill Pond is on the northeast end of Big Talbot (immediately to the left once over the bridge).
Bird Watching At Spoonbill Pond
Spoonbill Pond is considered one of the best locations in the region for birding, with over 200 species recorded. Birders and nature lovers of all experience levels are welcomed to experience these guided tours.
Don’t take the pond’s moniker “Spoonbill” as meaning these pink wading birds are prevalent. They can be seen here at times, but white wading birds, such as wood storks and egrets, plus a variety of sandpipers and ducks seem to far outnumber pink plumes (at least during our various visits).
“Join Ron Pfeffer, Coastal Systems Florida Master Naturalist, for a guided tour of Spoonbill Pond. Ron is a North Florida Land Trust volunteer and also a board member of the Friends of Talbot Islands State Parks,” states a news release.
Where To Park?
Use the parking lot across from Spoonbill Pond at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp. Parking fee is $2 daily, cash only. A boardwalk was built a few years back along the edge of Spoonbill Pond adjacent to Heckscher Drive. This half-mile-long wooden pedestrian/bike boardwalk (elevated above the edge of Spoonbill Pond), is “Segment 3” of the Timucuan Trail, and connects to a paved trail.
Fall, Winter, Spring Tours
The monthly tour dates are listed below, to be held on Saturday mornings (from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.). Those taking the tours are encouraged to “dress appropriately and bring water, sunscreen, insect repellent, and binoculars.” Meet up with the guide and other tour participants at the Sawpit Creek boat ramp parking lot. Reservations are required in advance for these free tours, so be sure to sign up.
Saturdays, 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM
- October 5, 2019
- November 2, 2019
- December 7, 2019
- January 4, 2020
- February 1, 2020
- March 7, 2020
- April 11, 2020
AGE RESTRICTIONS: 12 and up. Note that participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
About North Florida Land Trust
North Florida Land Trust’s stated mission is “preserving the natural resources, historic places and working lands of North Florida.” Visit North Florida Land Trust’s website to learn more about this non-profit organization. Also learn more about citizen support organization, Friends of Talbot Islands State Parks.
Read North Florida Land Trust’s “Landscapes” newsletter online to learn about their new capital campaign called “Forever Fernandina.” The August 2019 newsletter states:
“Fernandina Beach, like many coastal towns in Florida, is feeling the pressure of growth, and has woken up to the realization that if they don’t act soon, they’ll lose their last chances towards preserving what land is left. Working with the city, we have identified 15 properties totaling 452 acres of land that could potentially be acquired for conservation.”“Landscapes,” August 2019, North Florida Land Trust
According to “Landscapes,” North Florida Land Trust’s capital campaign goal is to raise $4 million in the next four years to support a “strategic partnership in conservation” with the city of Fernandina Beach.