Fortunately, Siesta’s island beaches are filled with bird activity throughout each day.
Approximately 300 feet above Siesta’s Public Beach is a coastal dune with sea oats, grasses, sea myrtle, sea grape and Indian tree spurge or pencil tree. The conservation area provides important habitat for wading and shore birds, nesting sea turtles…even a rabbit population.
Below are some interesting facts about the resident Snowy Plover colony at this location.
Since the breeding season is long, the Snowy Plover frequently raises two broods and sometimes three per year. The female deserts her brood and partner about the time the chicks hatch and leaves to breed with a different mate.
The young Snowy Plovers leave their nest within three hours of hatching and will flatten themselves on the ground when the parent signals the approach of people or potential predators. They walk, run, and swim well and forage unassisted, but require periodic brooding for many days after hatching.
Turtle Beach at the south end of the Key provides a natural woodland area along the beach for birds of prey like osprey and red tail hawks. Other residents of the area include black skimmers, brown pelicans, Wilson plovers and least terns.
Plan a kayak tour of the hidden lagoons, beaches and hiking trails of Jim Neville Marine Preserve. These islands in Little Sarasota Bay are accessible only by water. This 35-acre preserve provides opportunities for great bird watching while exploring a maze of waterways. The rookeries, (baby nurseries), are home to roseate spoonbill, great blue heron, great egret, brown pelican, osprey and many other birds. The beds of sea grass are home to marine animals…that include the manatee. With a low elevation, the islands make for a wet hike during high tides, but the variety of coastal birds, plants and wildlife make a visit here well worth it!
You can access a master list of birds in our area from this website.
Other Great Birding Locations
Celery Fields – Sarasota A former flood-control project, the Celery Fields, located at Fruitville Road and I-75, has deep lakes that are truly for the birds. This exceptional birding habitat and wildlife haven attracts hundreds of species – bald eagles, wild turkeys, ruby-throated hummingbirds, snow geese and peregrine falcons year ’round.
Coburn Road, off Fruitville Rd., Sarasota
The Venice Rookery features a vegetated island in the middle of a small lake offering a safe nesting environment for water and wading birds. Early mornings and late afternoons from November to June, black-crowned night herons, great egrets, great blue herons and anhinga are most active on the island. It is here that visitors can get some stunning up-close views and where Wildlife Photographers capture exceptional National Geographic shots.
Nesting takes place from February through April featuring plenty of loud calls, showy feathers and awkward, sometimes graceful, courting.
Directions: Heading south on US 41 (just north of Jacaranda Boulevard), take a right on Annex Road between the Venice Administration Building (at 4000 S. Tamiami Trail) and the State Highway Patrol. Head to the welcome center followed by parking, pavilion, picnic tables, and viewing area.
South Tamiami Trail, Venice Call for Information: 941-496-8984
There’s plenty more…
Our bountiful seashores, wetlands, prairies, and woodlands offer a plethora of winged diversity.
For a complete list of locations Click: HERE