12 Aug 2017
Albeit, Sanibel Island is an intimate space.
Only 12 miles long with two major roads , one on the north side and one on the south side, it would appear that location is not really an issue.
The East End puts the vacationer closer to the causeway and easier access to and from the island.
The West End puts the vacationer closer to Captiva and the charms of our little neighbor.
Mid-island has its pleasures as well. Not the least of which is the closer encounters to a variety of restaurants and shops.
But the bird watcher and photographer may want to fine tune location based on beach highlights when it comes to the Avian species.
The West End beaches, most known for the best shelling on Sanibel would be a hands down decision based on abundance and variety of shells.
Yet birding on either beach can bring very different levels of satisfaction.
The birds are going to be the same special variety either place.
There will be Laughing Gulls, Sanderlings, Sandpipers and Ruddy Turnstone on both East and West end beaches.
Similarly, you are as likely to see Brown Pelicans on either beach.
That said, we have always automatically assumed that the West End beach would be superior for the watch and the click, given its endless nature on and around the sandy respite.
But several visits to the East End recently revealed a few feathered treasures. There was the day we observed an Osprey not up in a tree or flying over the water, but walking along the shore, seemingly not the least disturbed by the people on the beach. That was quite remarkable.
Similarly, the hordes of Terns, Royal, Sandwich and Caspian, that we have seen and clicked on he West End, are on the East End in equal numbers. The advantage on the East is that , rather than being in colonies a mile from the entrance , the Terns are in smaller groups dotting the shore line up and down the beach.
And, quite astonishingly, the tide pools that catch up the bait fish on the East End attract dozens of Brown Pelicans onto the beach. They line up along the pools, and do not seem particularly fearful about the people passing by.
So for those who have affection for our fine feathered friends and enjoy looking at nature through the lens of a camera, there are delights on either end of the island you will not want to miss.