16th Annual Birding & Photo Fest

Wednesday – Sunday, April 18 – 22, 2018 at Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR

Over a hundred workshops, outdoor excursions, classes and seminars make this annual event a must-do for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.

505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, 32082
(904) 209-4422
  • Now in its 16th year, Florida's Birding & Photo Fest has gained international acclaim among nature lovers and photography enthusiasts, with attendance growing every year. Headquartered at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas Research Reserve, the event runs from Wednesday, April 18, to Sunday, April 22, 2018, and features well over 100 events, classes, and outdoor excursions this year.

    Each day is jam-packed with activities, with a variety of field workshops on birding and nature photography clinics. The nature tours this year include sunrise and sunset outdoor adventures and everything in between. Specialized tours are offered on area parks and beaches, on boat and kayak tours, and even horseback riding on the beach.

    Photography classes range from beginners-level lectures on digital asset management and basic Photoshop or Lightroom skills to advanced seminars on digiscoping techniques and much more.

    The opening reception address will be given this year by the well-traveled expert on photographing bird migration Scott Bourne, and the keynote speaker will be multi-award-winning photographer Lisa Langell, who is known for her evocative images.

    Speakers and Presenters

    There will be 16 speakers and presenters at the 16th Annual Florida's Birding & Photo Fest, including Scott Bourne, Joe Brady, Vinny Colucci, Annette Colucci, Charles Glatzer, Stephen Ingraham, Lewis Kemper, Roman Kurywczak, Bobbi Lane, Lisa Langell, Kevin Loughlin, Jack Rogers, Tim McEver, Lee Varis, Shiv Verma, and Dan Walters.


    Numerous programs will take place throughout the festival including kayaking excursions, eco boat tours, birding and walking excursions as well as several events at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Each day offers events throughout the day, beginning at dawn and continuing through the evenings. Some of the presentations are free, while classes and excursions vary in price from $20 to $125.

    From birding and walking tours and explorations into the intricacies of digital photography to eco boat tours and horseback riding on the beach, the 16th Annual Florida’s Birding & Photo Fest offers nature lovers and photography buffs a unique opportunity to expand their horizons.


    Here are links to the full schedules for each individual day: Wednesday, April 18, Thursday, April 19, Friday, April 20, Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, 2018.   

    2018 Photo Contest

    Every year, Florida's Birding and Photo Fest sponsors a photo contest for all participants. They offer valuable prizes for first through third places (first prize is a Sigma 100-400mm lens) as well as a People’s Choice award. The deadline to get photos in for the contest is Friday, March 30, 2018. Please visit here for contest details. A Young Birders photo contest is also offered for anyone 17 or under. The submission deadline is the same (March 30, 2018), with a parent’s or guardian’s permission.

    Host Hotels

    Hotels that offer special deals for guests attending Florida's Birding and Photo Fest include Beacher's Lodge Oceanfront Suites, Casa de Sueños Bed and Breakfast, The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens, Guy Harvey Outpost Resort, Marker 8 Hotel & Marina, St. Francis Inn Bed and Breakfast, and TRYP by Wyndham Sebastian St. Augustine.

    For more information about host hotels and for details on special offers, visit here.


    There is a one-time registration fee of $25.00. All classes, workshops, and activities have their own cost, which is listed on the schedules. All participants are required to pay the registration fee in order to be placed on the 2018 festival guest list (any persons who have not pre-registered will be required to do so on-site).

    When: Wednesday, April 18 – April 22, 2018. The opening reception will be on Wednesday, April 18, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., and the keynote reception will be on Friday, April 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Both receptions will take place at the Pioneer Barn at 259 San Marco Ave. in St. Augustine FL 32084. Individual events will take place throughout the area; visit the festival website for complete information.

    Where: The festival is headquartered at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas Research Reserve, located at 505 Guana River Rd. in Ponte Vedra Beach, about ten miles north of historic downtown St. Augustine.

    Other locations for specific classes and presentations include:

    Visit here to download maps for all these locations.

    For more information on this event please call (904) 209-4422 or visit here.

    The GTM Research Reserve is dedicated to the preservation of an unspoiled and undeveloped natural treasure, supporting a vibrant ecosystem and subsystems. Sea turtles, land tortoises, porpoises, manatees, roseate spoonbills, North Atlantic right whales … all these and many more live here year-round or are seasonal visitors.

Upcoming Events that also might interest you

Old Town Trolleys Famous Nights of Lights Tour
Nightly from November 18, 2018, to February 3, 2019
Ripley’s Red Trains Nights of Lights Tours
Nightly Nov. 18, 2018 – Jan. 5, 2019 / Fri. & Sat. only Jan. 11 - 26, 2019.
Meteor Showers at the Beach
Thursday and Friday, December 13 and 14, 2018 | 8 – 10 p.m.
Nights of Pints
Offered during Nights of Lights, November 17, 2018 – February 3, 2019