Spring is one of the best times of the year to visit the islands of the Dry Tortugas and the historic Fort Jefferson thanks to ideal weather conditions and the prevalence of hundreds of unique migratory bird species that can be spotted on the islands
Online PR News – 03-May-2010 – – If you a nature lover and will happen to be in Key West or the Florida Keys this spring and early summer, do not miss your chance to visit one of the country's most unique national parks, the Dry Tortugas. The Dry Tortugas are a group of island located in the Gulf of Mexico, about 70 miles west of Key West Florida. On the islands, visitors will see one of the nation's most gorgeous stretches of coral reef gardens (where people say the best Key West snorkeling can take place) as well as some of the best and most diversified bird watching.
While bird watching on the Dry Tortugas is excellent year-round, spring and early summer are truly two of the absolute best times of the year to come for bird watching. While several dozen species of birds reside on the islands year-round, many other species are migratory and only spend part of the year on the Dry Tortugas. The most prominent example are the Sooty Terns. Some 80,000 Sooty Terns descend on the island of Bush Key every March for their yearly nesting season and do not depart until early June.
The official Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson bird checklist has over 200 species to look out for. Some of the more common species that can be spotted on the islands include the Magnificent Frigate, red-necked Pahalrope, Masked Boobies, Brown Boobies, Roseate Terns, and the Golden Warbler. If you are interested in exploring the bird watching on the Dry Tortugas, definitely bring a good pair of binoculars. On the ride out to the islands, speak to the crew or on-board naturalist to get a better idea of the bird species you will be likely to see during your trip as well as to get tips on bird watching on the islands.
"Our trips are sold out every day this season and it's really the absolute best time of the year to go to the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson, especially for people who want to do bird watching," says Toni Lameier of the Dry Tortugas Information Center.
More adventurous nature lovers can also make reservations to camp on the Dry Tortugas, which allows them the advantage of being on the island of Garden Key (where Fort Jefferson is located) without the up to 200 guests that come on the ferries during the day. Camping also allows you to do bird watching in the early morning or right at dusk, when oftentimes the birds can be more active.