St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge

CR 30-B / Indian Pass Rd., Port St. Joe, 32456
(850) 653-8808
sunrise to sunset

pond

This extremely rustic refuge is under-birded in large part because it takes some effort to access it. Cross Indian Pass either by the private ferry or with your own boat. The island is very large: prepare to hike the extensive sand roads or bring a bike. Be sure to pick up a map at the refuge office in Apalachicola, at the Indian Pass boat ramp, or download one online, and don’t forget water and bug spray! Fortune favors the brave though: Seaside Sparrows populate the salt marsh on the east side of the island and the interior wetlands host Least Bitterns (summer) and ducks, fodder for Peregrine Falcons and other raptors in migration. American Oystercatchers and Snowy Plovers nest on the beach. When the tide is low check the oyster bars scattered throughout Saint Vincent Sound for shorebirds, a Long-billed Curlew has wintered in the area in recent years. The island’s hammocks are a haven for songbird migrants in spring and fall, and the grassy shoreline provides winter habitat for Nelson’s Sparrows. Gopher Tortoises and Eastern Indigo Snakes can be found on the island as well as a population of Samba Deer, an exotic from Southeast Asia that was introduced to the island before it became a national wildlife refuge. Three- to four-day hunts in fall and winter close the island to other uses; please click here for information on dates and regulations before planning your visit.

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