Part of our job that we LOVE is seeing all of the magnificent wildlife that hang out around our marina, including Manatees, Dolphin and many wading birds like Herons, Egrets, Ibis and the pretty-and-pink Roseate Spoonbill.
The Roseate Spoonbill is a spectacular sight. When it flies across the sky, the sun often illuminates its pink wings and many people think they have seen a Flamingo. Although Flamingos used to be spotted in our area of Florida (notably in Bradenton’s Perico Bay area), they no longer make Tampa Bay their home. Flamingos can sometimes be seen in the Everglades area in the winter, but in and around Sarasota/Bradenton, the Spoonbill is our resident pink bird. Tampa Bay is actually one of the best places to spot the Spoonbill because 15 percent of their population nest in the area.
Roseate Spoonbills get their name because of their hue (rose-colored) and the shape of their beak – it is long and rounded at the end, basically a soup ladle that helps them scoop up their food. It is fun to watch a Spoonbill eat, they swing their bills from side to side to capture shrimp and other pink crustaceans which give the birds their pinkish hue. The color of the birds can vary based on their diets, so sometimes you’ll see a Spoonbill that is light pink and sometimes you’ll see one that is a dark fushia. Either way, they are a glorious sight!
People flock to our area (yes, pun intended!), for Tampa Bay bird watching and one of the best ways to see some of our feathered friends is to get out on the water and explore areas you can only see by boat or kayak. Some of our favorite spots for Anna Maria Island birdwatching includes the following:
Birdwatching at Robinson Preserve
Bring your kayak to the Robinson Preserve in Bradenton and you are bound to see Spoonbills fishing in the shallow, picturesque waters. There is a kayak launch at the entrance on 17th Avenue.
Birdwatching at Fort Desoto Park
Spoonbills and other wading birds love the mangrove areas around this park. A great boating destination for the day! Take in the fort, do a little beaching, camping and of course, birding.
Birdwatching at Emerson Point Preserve
Another great spot for kayaking. Paddle through the mangrove tunnels here and you’re sure to spot a Spoonbill wading for their dinner.