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Tigertail beach....lots of birds!


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All taken within an hour or two of sunrise in SW Florida



White Ibis arriving for the day









Brown pelican...we have lift-off!







Reddish Egret









Roseate Spoonbills











More pelicans!






Snowy Egrets






...and their 'great' cousin



Female osprey









And one more skimmer!








Edited by Whyone?
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Nice set of photos, it's crazy to believe I've been to Florida at least twenty times and still haven't seen a Roseate Spoonbill. To be fair, all the trips were family, beach vacations, I guess we were never in the right area... 

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@Zubbie15 - goodness, that's a lot of visits!


My trips to FL are also very much family holiday's though we visit an area (Marco Island) which I know has some great wildlife. 


We rent a property on the beach and my daily routine is to get up at ~5:30am, an hour before sunrise (UK-US time difference makes this less of a chore than it may seem) and head off down the barrier spit for a mile or two, often accompanied by dolphins or a manatee.  With the Gulf to my left and the tidal lagoon (where the spoonbills spend their days) to my right there is always someone interesting to watch and photograph.  I'm generally back 'home' by 8:30, just as the rest of my family is stirring!


For me, it's a tremendous way to start the day. 

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@Whyone? my parents have never been big travelers, we'd do an annual trip to the gulf coast as our major vacation each year, leading to the high number.  We'd also stay right on the beach, but it was a very managed beach area and predominantly only had gulls and terns.   I had plans to go down with my wife a few years ago to explore the Everglades and some of the better birding spots, but then she got pregnant and zika was at its height at the time, so we postponed that.  

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Hi @Zubbie15


I know what you mean about managed beaches...I don't know if it is a peculiarly American thing, but it frustrates me greatly...it's just not necessarily IMHO.  What's wrong with a bit of seaweed, and does the sand really need 'grooming' daily?!


Whilst I love visiting Africa and we are currently working our way around the countries of SE Asia which is fantastic, for an easy destination which has something for everyone in my family, the 10,000 Islands area works very well for us.   Hopefully you'll get the opportunity to visit the area one day - Marco, Sanibel and Captiva islands all have wonderful birdlife. 


A highlight of our recent trip was the number of Swallow-Tailed kites we saw - what a spectacular bird!

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It's actually even worse than that @Whyone? - when we first started going to this location, there was a high retaining wall, and you needed to take steps down to the "real" beach.  They since decided, in order to attract people, that they should pump sand from offshore to expand the beach; there's now a good 50 meters of sand between where the wall is and the shore, and no need for steps to get onto the beach.  Certainly it looks pretty, but not much inhabits this area (except sunburned tourists), and they have to redo it every few years due to the erosion.  Seems crazy to me, but my parents still go every year and every time my dad laments how many original houses have been torn down and replaced by mini-mansions, so I guess it is attracting  the wealthy.  But we'll definitely have to go to a place like Sanibel when we have an extra week of vacation. 

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Ah...beach 'renourishing' @Zubbie15


Yes, I agree, another pointless and I daresay ecologically damaging practice.

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@Whyone? - that beach grooming thing is not widespread in the USA - it would be considered crazy and potentially criminal here in South Carolina.   I think it's fairly localized in Florida as well.


I agree that beach renourishment is an ecologically damaging process.   But people just can't seem to retreat and allow the beach to migrate inland like it did in previous epochs before modern humans.

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I know little about Florida. The last time I was there was in 1982 (yikes :o), so I was curious about Tigertail beach.

This is one of the first things that popped up in Google, it is on TripAdvisor. Just for the sake of clarification I do not use or trust Trip Advisor as a source of information.



Review of Tigertail Beach

Reviewed 24 September 2009

I am a native Floridian, having grown up in Miami. I retired 7 years ago to Marco Island and live 3 blocks from Tigertail "beach". What a disaster! If you are looking for a hot expanse of greenish-gray ooze, bordering on a 3 foot deep semi-polluted lagoon, this is for you. Of course, you can get to the Gulf of Mexico two ways: 1) about a 1/2 mile walk around the lagoon,barren and hot; or 2), wade 100 yards thru the luke-warm, murky water to the dunes and then another 300 yards to the Gulf. There's a group called "Friends of Tigertail" who oppose the construction of a boardwalk to make the walk to the Gulf family-friendly. Tiger's Rear-End would be a better description.

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Haha!!! Well if that review keeps numbers down, that is just fine by me


Tigertail beach is a barrier spit at the northern end of Marco Island in SW Florida.  Marco itself is a moderate sized (~2miles x 7 miles) residential island and as such fairly fairly unremarkable.


The reviewer is correct that access to Tigertail is not straightforward - you either wade across the tidal lagoon (something I'm more than happy to do, but it is defiantly squidgy under foot, and mullet will flit around your legs as you walk which can be disconcerting) or walk around the lagoon and onto the Gulf facing beach.  As you walk north you leave the majority of people and the renourished, groomed beach behind.  To your left will be the Gulf, which is lovely IMHO, a proper wild/natural beach - dolphins abound and manatees are a regular sighting, brown pelicans plunge into balls of small fish; 



....to your right (left in the above photo!) is the lagoon - this can be very buggy, but the birdlife is both prolific and spectacular.  


oozy lagoon:





Eventually (~ 1 mile along) you enter (well, skirt carefully around) colonies of breeding sea and shore birds - least and royal terns, a variety of plovers and huge numbers of black skimmers.


The beach is also an important loggerhead turtle nesting site - we saw several  fresh turtle tracks in and out of the water and nests dug overnight when we were there in June.


So maybe....OK, definitely...not for everyone, but it works for me, my family and several friends who have visited with us previously.



Edited by Whyone?
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clearly the Trip Advisor report was from someone who likes his beaches groomed and pristine

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One man's ooze is another's 'teeming with life'!

Edited by Whyone?
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2 hours ago, Whyone? said:

One man's ooze is another's 'teeming with life'!


Then I must have had a hell of a lot of life between my toes when I was wading in the river Bure :D

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