I am not an avid birdwatcher, but I have really enjoyed spotting ospreys, herons, egrets, and even bald eagles since coming to live on Anna Maria Island. There are a veriety of shorebirds, seabirds, and land birds that are here year round or stop for a break on their way further south. If you have not already seen some interesting birds, be on the look out and have a camera ready! Here are just a few of the many birds we have seen:
Ospreys are birds of prey – particularly preying on fish. Almost every morning last summer, I would wake up and have a cup of coffee while checking my email in our office upstairs. Like clockwork, an osprey would land on the telephone pole across the street and sit there for a few minutes. There were many times when I could see a shiny fish in his claws. What an awesome sight! They are dark brown on top and white/grey speckled underneath. You can spot them flying along the water – they dive and come back up with a fish. We have also seen them nesting in high places – such as the top of Australian pines.
Bald Eagles on the beach??? Well, I have never seen them on the beach, but many people around the island have spotted them – Google it and you will find numerous pictures! I have spotted them flying and also have seen them while visiting Robison preserve, which is located a short drive or biking distance from the island. They are hard to miss with their dark bodies and striking white heads.
Herons, egrets, pelicans, and many others can be found on the white sugar sand beaches, vintage piers, and pretty yards of Anna Maria Island. Even the top of the Luthern church hosts a huge nest. I am not sure if the same birds always occupy it or if different types of birds ‘claim’ it every year – I believe I have seen osprey there in the past. Next time you are going by, take a look and see if you can identify the hovering birds.
During the summer, some of the shorebirds are protected by large roped off areas of the beach where they nest. More information can be found at http://islandturtlewatch.com/shorebirds/. The Island Turtle Watch is also a good source to contact if you are looking to identify a particular “mystery” bird.
Below are some other bird pictures of delightful feathered friends taken by friends and family – we would love to see yours! If you would like to share, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org . I always enjoy new material to post to facebook, pinterest, and this website – it might even end up in our Welcome Book or marketing material! (Please let me know whether I should include your name with the picture).