Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

More than 35 Species Tallied in Global Shorebird Count

September 18, 2020

SCCF Shorebird Biologist Audrey Albrecht covered more than 18 miles of beach on Sanibel and Captiva as part of the Global Shorebird Count, which ran from Sept. 3 through Sept. 9. As part of the count, she also boated to North Captiva to survey shorebirds on the bayside mudflat adjacent to SCCF’s Charlotte & Delbert Miller Preserve. 

“I counted 4,755 individual birds of 35 species including shorebirds, seabirds, wading birds, and birds of prey,” said Albrecht. “The five most numerous species observed were sandwich terns, sanderlings, royal terns, laughing gulls, and willets.” 

Numerous banded birds were encountered including sanderlings (Calidris alba), piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), black skimmers (Rynchops niger), royal terns (Thalasseus maximus), and a single least tern (Sternula antillarum). The least tern, pictured here, was originally banded at the Space Center, a rooftop colony in north Pinellas County, in 2017. 

In August, it was seen for the first time since banding at Fort Island Beach in Crystal River. Last week’s encounter was only the second re-sighting of this individual.

In other shorebird updates, today is Plover Appreciation Day!

Join us in celebrating the six species of plovers that spend time on our islands. Pictured here is a snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus). The other five species include: semipalmated plover (Charadrius semipalmatus), Wilson’s plover (Charadrius wilsonia), and black-bellied plover (Pluvialis squatarola), killdeer (Charadrius vociferous), and piping plover. 

Plover Appreciation Day is a day of raising awareness of the plight of plovers around the world.

Plovers are ground-nesting birds that live on beaches, lake shores, wetlands and grasslands. Unfortunately many species are also highly threatened, largely because humans also enjoy their coastal habitats. Plovers and their nests are small and well camouflaged, so humans can have a major impact on the survival of their eggs and chicks without even realizing it. Listen to our latest podcast to learn more!

Please email Audrey at with any questions about shorebirds or to report sightings of banded birds.



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