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Longboat Key is
for the Birds
By Rusty Chinnis
On the northern tip of the Key you’ll find Greer Island, known locally as “Beer Can Island”. Part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, Greer Island can be accessed from parking along Northshore Drive (first right hand turn after crossing Longboat Pass) or a public parking lot at the west end of Broadway St.
Some large concentrations of birds can be found from the Broadway access south. American Oystercatchers, Black Skimmers, Red Knots, Black-bellied Plovers and Willets, are present all winter long. Ruddy Turnstones and Sanderlings are year-round residents. Snowy and Wilson’s Plovers comb the wrackline along with occasional winter visitors including Northern Gannets, Piping Plovers, Whimbrels and Marbled Godwits.
Birders can also expect to see a range of terns and all the typical gulls. A few of the terns include Royal Terns, Common Terns, Caspian Terns, Forster’s Terns and Sandwich Terns.
The bay side of the island has several top birding spots where enthusiasts can view wading birds like the Roseate Spoonbill, Reddish Egret, Tri-colored Heron, Little Blue Heron, and Wood Stork. You’ll find great viewing opportunities for pelicans and wading birds on the bayside of Greer Island, the Longbeach Village, Joan Durante Park and the Quick Point Nature Preserve to the south on New Pass. Whether you’re a veteran bird watcher, a photographer or just enjoy Florida’s coastal beauty,you’ll find Longboat Key’s rich and abundant bird life a feast for the senses. d
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