Updated in May of 2010, with more and more recent photographs. 8 pages by now...
Bunche Beach along San Carlos Bay in the Fort Myers area offers a long stretch of beaches, good fishing and a vast array of flats when the water is low which makes for great, safe strolling in very shallow water. Protective sandals are recommended. Low tide
provides for one of the best feeding grounds for a variety of shorebirds, from rather
small Plover types to fairly large ones like Reddish Egrets and Herons.
Above partial view of the beach dates from Oct. 2001, about an hour past low tide. In the
background we get a hint of the Sanibel Island causeway. Physical aspects of this point of
have changed significantly due to havoc caused by hurricanes like CHARLEY and
of the San Carlos Bay sand flats have changed with every major event.
But these rather immense
stretches continue to provide habitat and feeding grounds
for a variety of bird species,
home-based as well as migratory.
Black-necked Stilts (page 2a) are nesting here, not
obvious to the curious human eye,
but rather on sandy patches in the less accessible Mangrove forests.
Black-bellied, Piping, Snowy, Semipalmated and Wilson's Plovers can be
on occasion (see further down)...
Most of Bunche Beach used to be privately owned,
without much supervision. People
were letting dogs run here rather freely. The practice was
stopped a few years ago, after
Lee County bought the property from a group of investors for a
reported six million $’s...
Because of a certain degree of management (Land Stewardship Plans),
shore birds and
waterfowl, especially the few remainders of some threatened or endangered
species, now have an improved chance at survival across the preserve. Bunche Beach then and
San Carlos Bay Bunche Beach Preserve now. Never mind the semantics, it is one heck
of a place to visit, especially for Birders...
I did notice some beach erosion and some expansion of the flats, as well as behavioral
changes amongst many of the shore birds, which seem to adjust more and more to human presence and activities. Some of the sunbathers are no further away than a good 100 yards
from an assembly of Skimmers, Terns and what-have-you, where the arrow points...
Whether the commotion shown on the next page was caused by Bald Eagles high up or
by a speeding boat in the background was not quite clear. The Red-shouldered Hawk,
one of many, many (..!) local residents, certainly was not a factor.