GoCampingAmerica.com | Posted April
    2nd, 2016




    Happy Camper Blog



    Without a
    doubt, many people find birdwatching (or birding) to be an enjoyable and
    rewarding way to get out and enjoy nature. According to the U.S. Fish and
    Wildlife Service, more than 46 million Americans participate in this
    recreational activity. Author Nicholas Lund, who writes for Audubon.org, may
    have described birding best when he wrote, “It’s basically a lifelong
    scavenger hunt played across the entire earth. It’s equal parts science and
    poetry, hoots of triumph and quiet reflection, adventures to far-flung
    corners of the world and discoveries in your own back yard.” So whether
    you’re a longtime birder or you’re just getting started, here are a few great
    birding locations to add to your itinerary when you’re planning your next
    camping trip.



    Patagonia-Sonoita Creek

    Located in a lush floodplain in southeastern Arizona, the
    Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve is considered to be one of the top birding
    spots in the Southwest. It’s home to over 200 species of birds, including
    Gray hawks and over 20 species of flycatchers. According to the Southeastern
    Arizona Bird Observatory, the first known Sinaloa Wren in the U.S. was
    recently spotted here. The sanctuary is owned and operated by The Nature


    Point Reyes National

    Spanning more than 70,000 acres north of San Francisco, Point
    Reyes National Seashore offers some of the best birdwatching in the nation.
    Nearly 490 species have been spotted in in the park and the surrounding
    waters. The park has a peninsula that juts out into the Pacific, so it also
    attracts “vagrants,” birds that have somehow gone off course and are not
    usually seen in this area. Point Reyes offers a wide variety of areas to
    explore, including a valley, wetlands, lagoons, ponds and the rocks and cliff
    areas around the historic Point Reyes Lighthouse.


    JN Ding Darling National Wildlife

    Located on Sanibel Island, this refuge was created to safeguard
    the pristine wildlife habitat that is home to more than 200 species of birds
    and to protect endangered and threatened species. It contains over 6,400
    acres of mangrove forests, submerged seagrass beds, cordgrass marshes and
    West Indian hardwood hammocks. Approximately 2,800 of the reserve’s acres
    have been designated by Congress as a wilderness area.


    Quivira National Wildlife

    Rated as one of the top birding destinations in the U.S., Quivera
    is located right in the center of the Central Flyway, so its wetlands,
    mudflats and shorelines attract large concentrations of migrating shorebirds,
    including both eastern and western species. Spring, summer and fall are good
    times to spot shorebirds, and in the spring and fall, the refuge also
    attracts waterfowl and migrating songbirds. To date, over 340 species have
    been spotted here.



    The marshes of this southern Louisiana island provide the ideal
    habitat for wading birds, including heron, ibis and snowy egrets; and Grand
    Isle Beach is the place to spot gulls, terns, skimmers and Louisiana’s state
    bird, the brown pelican. There’s also a live oak/hackberry forest that serves
    as a resting spot for nearly 100 species of birds that migrate across the
    Gulf of Mexico.



    Great Bay National Estuarine Research

    This reserve includes nearly 25,000 acres of tidal waters and it’s
    also part of the North Atlantic flyway, so 20 species of waterfowl, 27
    species of shorebirds and 13 species of wading birds winter here or use it as
    a stopover on their migration. There are numerous viewing platforms on the
    bay, and the reserve also contains an educational facility called the Great
    Bay Discovery Center.


    Aransas National Wildlife

    The combination of mild winters, waterways and abundant food
    attract more than 400 species of birds to this coastal location. The refuge
    has played a major role in saving the whooping crane from extinction and it
    is home to the only wild flock of these rare birds. The refuge contains
    several trails, including some that specifically focus on birding, and
    there’s a 40-foot observation tower that offers the best chance of seeing a
    whooping crane.