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!
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.
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 pexels.com