Today, my mom and I walked the Pelican Bay stretch of beach from the Sandbar to Vanderbilt Beach. A friend got us guest passes, so we were able to take the tram down to the beach and go to the bars! It was really fun. The low density occupation of the beach made for great birding.
As soon as we got out to the Sandbar, there was a northern gannet cruising right along the shoreline! My dad and I saw a big flock of black skimmers in the vicinity the other day, and today, we found where they were all hanging out. Among them, there was a small group of Sandwich terns and at least one Forster’s tern. I didn’t take a lot of time to pick through everything since I was with my mom, so maybe there was something I overlooked, but that’s what I saw on my brief pass.
Further down the beach, I saw my lone black-bellied plover that seems to be “the one” I see this time of year on this stretch. There was also a small group of ruddy turnstones among the several groups of willets scattered along the beach. I can’t help but wonder about human occupation of the beach when I visit the more secluded sections, and inevitably see more shorebirds. What are our sunbathing and beach-combing habits doing to wintering shorebirds?