Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve - Monday 6/16/14

I had the opportunity to participate in bird monitoring for the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve for one day and I must say that it was quite enlightening and educational. I started my day with ample time on my hands and decided to take in the view as I waited for 8:30am to roll around.
The waterway was peaceful with not much boat activity - I would venture to say that it has to do with the fact that it was a Monday and that it's off season.

Soon thereafter, I spotted the 17' Boston Whaler that served as our vessel for bird monitoring. The crew, other than myself, consisted of Chris (pictured here), Cheryl Clark (manager/leader) and two other volunteers - Ryan ( a student of FGCU) and Christina from Good Time Charters. We, Ryan and myself - being the rookies on the boat - were given instructions and information necessary for the data keeping before boarding the vessel. Equipped with water, food, sunscreen and binoculars - we launched into the bay ready to survey as many of the 25 rookeries island as we could muster.

The Brown Pelicans were observed - either sitting on nest or tending to their chicks.

Can you see that naked chick?

The Reddish Egret dealing with the demands of her chicks.

The Snowy Egret's plumage is just spectacular.

Tricolored Herons chicks waiting patiently.

A pair of Snowy Egret in their beautiful breeding attire....look at the bright crimson lore.

A Great Blue Heron

A still fuzzy Tricolored heron

More chicks

Then we came across an island where Magnificent Frigatebirds were sitting and flying around

They were mostly adults - the male sports an orange throat pouch which becomes bright red when inflated in courtship display. The female on the other hand has white feathers on the underparts and the juvenile has a white head.

A White morth of the Great Blue Heron sitting on a nest.

More Brown Pelicans - look, their eyes are closed.

Red Mangrove roots

Little Blue Heron

These chicks are really tiny.

Heading back to docking - we passed by the U.S.C.G station.        So, in a few words....The Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve protects the bay by getting involved in fishing line/trash cleanups, bird monitoring, water quality monitoring - by protecting and doing survey of the seagrass and collecting water samples and recording data collection. It is so much more than this small paragraph - Ray Judah said it well: "
- for more information, please visit their website
 And for some recreation along Fort Myers Beach, check Good Time Charters at

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