Florida's Birding & Photo Fest

Are you a die-hard birder or a serious nature photographer? Or are you a wildlife enthusiast, point-and-shoot picture taker or ? especially ? an outdoors and nature lover?

No matter whether you’ve taken long trips in search of avian species to add to your life list or you just enjoy hiking and listening to birds, you’re sure to enjoy Florida's Birding & Photo Fest. Held every spring in Northeast Florida, this world-class event draws birding and photography aficionados from far and wide to observe and photograph some of the scores of bird species that inhabit the area.

For photographers of all skill levels, this is an opportunity to sharpen your skills during workshops with world-renowned nature and wildlife photographers. Workshop and seminar subjects include photographing birds in flight, image composition and flash techniques. Many of the workshops are held out in the field so lessons can be demonstrated and attempted on the spot.

For birders, it's a chance to get together with fellow bird-watching enthusiasts and marvel at the incredible diversity of species in this coastal area of Northeast Florida. During a recent Bird-a-Thon in the area, Audubon of Florida members spotted 125 species, including nesting and migratory woodland birds and many of the wading bird species, as well as an elusive northern bobwhite and a redheaded woodpecker.

Even if you’re a casual photographer or nature lover, you’re certain to enjoy many of the more than 100 events, including bird walks along the nature trails and kayak and boat tours on local waterways. The annual photo contest is very popular, and it might just inspire you to spend more time outdoors, photographing nature.

This year’s festival (the event is in its 13th year) will be held April 22-26, 2015. It’s based at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (also known as the GTM Research Reserve) in Ponte Vedra Beach, which is 8 miles north of St. Augustine. The setting is perfect for the event: 10 miles of nature trails and old service roads wind through the hammock, scrub and flatwoods in the interior portion of the reserve. The Environmental Research Center contains natural and cultural history exhibits, aquariums, a theater and a nature store. Boardwalks provide access to the coquina sand beach.

For more information about workshops, seminars, events and tickets, visit