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Tag: Coquina Beach

Wildlife of Anna Maria Island

Did you know that there’s much more to Anna Maria Island than just calm waters and beautiful beaches? AMI is actually incredibly ecologically diverse and an important habitat for a wide variety of wildlife! Everything from countless species of fish, to marine birds, to even our many small lizards can be spotted on this barrier island.

If you’re looking to bird watch you can enjoy some feathered friends right on our shorelines or head to one of the local preserves like Robinson’s Preserve that’s home to many unique species! The Coquina Beach Baywalk on the southern end of the island, in particular, is one of the best places for bird watching, as well as Bean Point on the northern end of the island. Anna Maria Island is a major migration point and nesting habitat for both common and rare shorebirds including sandpipers and black skimmers. Not to mention the variety of gulls, pelicans, and terns!

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Our personal favorite bird to look out for is the roseate spoonbill. Roseate spoonbills are medium-sized waterbirds, with a long bill that is flattened into a spoon-shape at the end. They’re always thrilling to see because of their pink color that can vary from pale to hot pink!

Of course, there are far too many fish species to name that can be spotted (and caught!) in our crystal clear waters. The further out in the Gulf you go, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more exciting sights like sharks, manatees, dolphin, jellyfish, and string rays!

Should you find yourself wading in the refreshing Gulf waters from April through October, be sure to do the “stingray shuffle”. Stingrays are in the waters year around, but love to partially bury themselves under the sand in the warmer shallow waters. Shuffling your feet across the sand will alert these creatures it’s time for them to move on.

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Our absolute favorites, have to be the friendly dolphins. These can be spotted anywhere on the beach, pier, or especially playing in the waves off the back of a boat. Seeing a dolphin or two or more frolicking around the island waters is always a treat. It never gets old!

Another beautiful and beloved marine creature you may come across here is our beloved sea turtle. Five species of sea turtles swim and feed around Anna Maria Island. Loggerheads are the most common to come ashore and nest from May through October each year. So if you’re visiting in those months, be sure to follow the guidelines so we can help make these turtles have a safe place to settle!

Take a walk on the wild side and enjoy some of the diverse and incredible wildlife here on Anna Maria Island. Keep your eyes peeled and let us know what wild wonders you may find!

Photos courtesy of

Beach Renourishment on its way down AMI

If you’ve visited the white sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island lately you may have noticed some new beachgoers – the heavy machinery and massive pipes being used for our latest beach renourishment and dredging projects.

There recently began an extensive beach renourishment to restock a 5.5-mile stretch of beach northern Holmes Beach to the southern end of Coquina Beach at Longboat Pass. But don’t worry, this is a construction project worth investing in and rooting for- it helps makes our beaches more sustainable.

Why Beach Renourishment Done

“The work you see is maintenance that will help ensure the continued presence of a sandy beach and storm protection for the upland, as well as provide important nesting habitat for endangered sea turtles and shorebirds.”- Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County Parks, and Natural Resources Director

Hunsicker said the beach loss averages 100 feet of depth every 10 years. He said the retreat of the sand is measured until it reaches a point where renourishment can begin before too much sand is lost. Each successive event requires less sand until a sustainable pattern is reached.

“Our goal is to get in balance with sand coming into the system and sand coming off the beach”

How Beach Renourishment Accomplished

The sand will be delivered by barge from an offshore borrow area about 2,000 feet offshore of the north end of Anna Maria Island, near Passage Key. The sand is dredged from the offshore areas by a hydraulic cutter suction dredge, then pumped through a pipeline to the beach as a water/sand slurry. The submerged pipeline comes ashore onto the beach at a designated landing location and connects to the shore pipeline, which runs along the dry beach. The sand slurry is discharged from the pipeline and bulldozers move the sand to fill the designed construction template.

Construction equipment moves down the beach around the clock, traveling about 300 feet every 24 hours, with heavy activity along the way expected to last no longer than a few days.

The project schedule calls for restocking about 300-feet of beach per day, baring weather delays, the project should be complete by the end of October.

Portions of the beach will be closed during active construction, preventing the public from accessing that area of the shore. But, the plan will always move in a way that leaves plenty of public beaches still open for visiting. The progress will be updated throughout construction and a list of frequently asked questions are available on the website.

So, if you notice some action on the beaches of AMI over the coming weeks, you can be in the know about what’s happening on our shoreline and rest assured- our beaches will be stocked and ready for many more years of fun in paradise!

Photos courtesy of Deposit Photos