Friday, January 9, 2009

Florida trip 2/3 Estero Preserve : the six plovers beach

Fort Myers beach is a great place to spend some vacation. I mean what else can you hope for? Imagine. From the beach bar of the hotel, a mojito in hand, you can see on the right side of the beach a one mile strech of white sandy beach. On the left side, one of the best hotspot of Florida. A lagoon where shorebirds and waders feed at low tide, and roost at high tide. This beach is well known to be a reliable place for snowy and piping plovers, and sometimes marbled godwits, long-billed curlews and willets. Birds were also particularly tame, offering good opportunities for easy pictures.

In fact, I was able to find most of the waders, shorebirds and sea birds of our trip (one exception being the white pelican and the 2 species of yellowlegs, only seen during this trip at the Ding Darling Refuge) on this one mile strech of beach. I spotted in average one American Frigatebird every day, and one evening, had the good surprise to find a LONG-BILLED CURLEW (Courlis a long bec) (Why did I forget my camera on this day?), 50 feet from us!!!! I took a long time to check that this was not a Wimbrel (which would have been a lifer for us too!). But no mistake here, HUGE bill, Buffy underparts (almost orange), we had a curlew here. Altogether, we were able to found 6 species of plover (Snowy, Piping, Wilson, Semipalmated, Blackbellied and Killdeer). Western Sandpipers were also numerous, and a few Least Sandpipers were seen

All the common waders were also found (Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Reddish Egret, Little Blue Heron, Spoonbills, White Ibis, etc). A few songbirds were also seen (Cardinals, Palm Warblers, Tree Swallows).

Thousands of Laughing Gulls were there of course, as well as hundreds of Royal and Sandwich Terns, and dozens of Brown Pelicans, Double Crested Cormorants and a few flyover of Anhingas. At one point I saw a bird that might have been a Gull Billed Tern (all white head, black bill), but I still have a doubt about my ID (not sure about the shape of the bill, so it might have been...something else).

Piping Plover (Pluvier Siffleur), digiscoped

American Oystercatchers (huitriers americains) and Willets (Chevaliers Semipalme) , digibinned

Sanderling (Becasseau Sanderling), Digibinned

Wilson's Plover (Pluvier de Wilson), digibinned

Snowy Plover (Pluvier a Collier Interrompu), digibinned

Semi palmated plover (Pluvier Semipalme), digibinned

Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregate Superbe), Digibinned

Roseate Spoonbill, digibinned


Tor Egil Høgsås said...

Nice pics, it seems to be a really good polace to see shorebirds.

Laurent said...

TOR : thanks for the comment. Yes it was indeed, it is not every day that you have a chance to have a birding hot spot next to your hotel room!!!!!