Gulf Islands National Seashore: Fort Pickens Area

1400 Ft. Pickens Rd, Gulf Breeze, 32561
(850) 934-2600
March-October: 5:00am-9:00pm
November-February: 5:00am-6:00pm

sand dunes

This migratory hotspot is not to be missed in spring and fall, as tired migrants make landfall after long migratory flights. Batteries Langdon and Worth are both good stops for migrants; closely check flowering oaks. Please respect closed areas protecting nesting birds: the beach here is prime for breeding Snowy Plovers and Least Terns spring through fall. Black Terns are ubiquitous in summer and early fall. By far, the fort and surrounding trails offer this site’s most exciting birding, rarities such as Olive-sided Flycatcher, Bewick’s Wren and Green-tailed Towhee have been recorded in recent years. In open areas surrounding the fortifications, watch for sentinel flycatchers on any minor promontory. Gray Kingbirds breed here and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers are occasional in fall and winter. The trails on the fort’s bayside can be extraordinary for migrant songbirds like Tennessee, Cape May, and Magnolia Warblers. Morning is not necessarily the best time to see these birds; long-term sighting logs from dedicated local birders indicate these migrants can make landfall in early afternoon. Fallouts are exaggerated by early afternoon rain showers that ground migrants as soon as they reach land. Fort Pickens Road is prone to storm-related closures; call ahead before you visit.

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