I was reading an article this morning about bird photography on the coast of Marco Island. Apparently, at the island’s Tigertail Beach, that sort of thing is a serious spectator sport, in that not only did the journalist seem to be watching the birds, he seemed to be watching the photographers, and he seemed to expect his readers to be as interested in the photographers as in the birds. He talked about the photographers and camera equipment, in fact, significantly more than he talked about the birds. This makes journalistic sense, in that the article was published in the Marco Eagle, Marco’s local newspaper.
This brings me, in a roundabout way, to my point. It seems to me that most beach-goers who are not bird photographers or birdwatchers are unlikely to go to the beach to seek out interesting avian life. We flock to boat tours for whale watching, or dolphin spotting. We squeal like children when we spot a sea turtle. We go snorkeling or scuba diving to see interesting fish. We brave the natural smelliness of seals to see them basking in the sun. Is it just me, or do we spend most of our wildlife energy on the beaches in looking down?
I’m a sheller. I’ll admit, I’m guilty as charged!
Why don’t we, for the sake of shaking up our usual beach routines, spend a little time enjoying the wildlife that occasionally goes up? For those of you who are interested, here is a series of fun links concerning beach bird watching all over the U.S. :
Birding the Great Lakes Beaches (Tundra Swans, Bald Eagles and many more!):
Birding the East Coast:
Birding Assateague Island National Seashore(Funny thing, I’ve actually been to this area, and I don’t remember a single bird. Not because the birds weren’t there, but because I wasn’t looking!)
Birding the West Coast:
The Bird Guide (there are some good links on this site for the Pacific Northwest coast)
Birding Hawaii’s Shores:
Gulf Of Mexico Beach Birding:
Cool, huh? I’ve been looking up things to look up at all morning, and actually, most of them seem to spend quite a lot of their time wading. Still, aren’t they fun? Enjoy! -E.G.D.
~~~ Originally published Jul 27, 2011 ~~~
Please feel free to share your coastal bird watching experiences and/or your favorite beach birding site!