Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bunche Beach Preserve is going to the birds…

Black Skimmers

Tracks in the sandWith the chilly weather hitting southern Florida we are amused at how bundled up some of the people are around the park. With highs just peeking into the seventies (Fahrenheit) there are a lot of wind breakers and jackets being donned by the residents of Siesta Bay RV Resort. So what do we do on such a chilly day?

Why we go to the beach, of course… When we leave this park the one thing we will miss the most is the two mile bicycle ride along the bike paths over to Bunche Marbled GodwitBeach Preserve. This may not be one of the nicest beaches around but that fact that it lies among the mangroves make it a fun spot to take in a little birding while relaxing and enjoying the beach.

Yesterday we headed out for the beach and the bike ride was a little tougher that it had been previously since we were riding into a pretty stiff headwind. Before you reach the beach there is a pull out with a couple of small boardwalks and perches over the mangrove swamp. While here one day I saw a soaked and gangly raccoon meandering across the road heading into the mangroves. I also saw a beautiful Yellow Crowned Night Heron fly in and sit just across from me on a mangrove until he finally spotted me and took off.


The pullout is a great spot to just sit, relax and watch the goings on. A large alligator gar was floating by while I was fishing one day. It was right on the surface and floating along with the current of the outgoing tide. Fishing was not very productive that day but watching wildlife was very successful.

Short billed dowitcher, solitary sandpiper, dunlin, sanderling

Past the pullout a short ways down the road is the beach and some roadside parking (fees for parking). We road our bicycles onto the beach and then rode along the edge of the intertidal zone till we got to a sandbar that was crawling with shorebirds. So out plopped our blanket and out came the binoculars and camera… The diversity of shorebirds was fantastic as we saw 15 different  species and we even spotted a banded snowy plover (pictured below).

banded snowy ploverIt was just a great way to spend our last day here at the park. Today we will head twenty miles south to Bonita Lake Resort to stay for the month of December. If we had found this park a bit earlier we may have just stayed here for the month, but that is the problem with reservations as they commit you to a spot. We do however look forward to the sleepier town of Bonita Springs and the beaches there are only about a 10 minute drive away. I am sure we will survive and tough it out in Bonita Springs…

NOTE: Hovering your mouse over a picture will identify what you are looking at and if you want to see a larger picture just click on the image…


  1. What wonderful photos. Thanks for identifying all the photos. I have no idea what most of the birds are. The bike trail sounds great.

  2. I had to laugh at 70 being chillier temperatures. But I hear you about the head wind. Always makes everything feel colder.

    Sounds like a great place to spend time if you can bike to such terrific birding. I know what you mean about those pesky reservations. But eventually we will have been on the road long enough to know exactly where we like to stay when we are in a particular area.

    Thanks for the information about the preserve and the great pictures. I think I need some birding lessons from you.

  3. After getting skunked on shorebirds yesterday, I enjoyed seeing your today.

  4. You really got some great bird shots. I especially like the skimmers and the spoonbill in the previous blog. I've never seen a spoonbill in the wild that close.

  5. What a wonderful place. I would love to go there and sit for hours taking pictures too.
    Enjoy your new park as much.