Two hours north of Fort Myers lies Dunedin, Florida. It’s a quaint little town and the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays. It’s adjacent to Clearwater, one of the best beach towns in America, and the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The lighthouse beach on Sanibel Island has a rich history (Detailed in Part 1 here). One of the best spots for Southwest Florida birding can also be found on the beach.
Marco Island is renowned for its pristine beaches and world-class accommodations. The birding can be first-class, as well. This is an interesting time of year to visit the Southwest Florida spot looking for birds. It’s not peak migration time, but many nesting colonies of birds have taken over much of Tigertail Beach on North Marco Island. Areas are marked off to protect the flocks of black skimmer, least terns, American oystercatchers, and Wilson’s plovers that call Marco Island home.
The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island is one of the top spots for finding water birds in the United States. Growing up on the East Coast I was familiar with herons, egrets, and the occasional bald eagle, but the variety of them in Florida came as a shock. Check out these shots from the Darling Preserve.