The scoters that gather off the western beach are still there. A raft of some 60 black scoters was about 200 yards out this afternoon, just west of access #7. A great black-backed gull was nearby.
- For those interested in seeing the black scoters, here are directions to the area around beach access #7:
Along West Gulf Drive, west of Rabbit Road, there are 7 small parking areas for vehicles with resident decals. Access #7 is the last one, near the end of the road on the left. It is clearly marked, and from there a trail leads to the beach. For the past few weeks, the scoters have been hanging out in the gulf to the right of that spot.
Unfortunately, there is no parking anywhere on that stretch of road for cars without a resident decal. That leaves two possibilities for visitors. One is to rent a bicycle and ride it along West Gulf Drive until you get to the spot marked "Beach Access #7" (about a mile past Rabbit Road, on your left). The other option is to drive to Bowman's Beach, about 5 miles out San-Cap Road toward Captiva. Park your car, find the path to the beach, and walk to your left (i.e., back the way you came). It's probably 2 to 3 miles (just a guesstimate) back to access #7, but of course the scoters could be anywhere along that stretch of beach. Either way, it's not easy to get to, which is why it's one of the least birded parts of the Sanibel beach.
Good birding -
The raft of scoters off the beach on Sanibel now totals more than 70, with about 10% adult males. It has been drifting slowly east over the past fortnight; this evening it was just west of Tarpon Bay Road. Farther west along the beach were 3 short-billed dowitchers and a scattering of 1st- and 2nd-winter lesser black-backed gulls.
Jim Boughton and Lesley Simmons