SCCF, Captiva Cruises Offering a Sunset Birding Cruise

provided to Santiva Chronicle

Chances are good that you’ll get a chance to see the fabulous white pelicans on Hemp Key during the Sunset Birding Cruise.

Join the Santiva Captiva Conservation Foundation and Captiva Cruises aboard the Santiva on Tuesday, Feb. 11, for a special cruise showcasing the amazing winter birding on rookery islands in the back bay and fertile estuary of Pine Island Sound.

As sunset nears, the boat will linger adjacent to a roosting island to observe birds coming in as day turns into night. The cruise will be narrated by SCCF Shorebird Biologist Audrey Albrecht and Captiva Cruises/SCCF Educator Richard Finkel.

Since 2016, Albrecht has served as SCCF’s Shorebird Biologist, bringing with her about a decade of experience working with various species of birds all over the country. Finkel has worked as an ecologist, historian and educator on the islands for more than a decade. The two enjoy sharing their knowledge and getting people out on the water to experience the spectacular array of birds during the evening hours on the estuary.

The twilight voyage will be on the Santiva – Captiva Cruises’ motor catamaran vessel named for the historic mailboat that brought mail and passengers to the islands from downtown Fort Myers six days a week prior to the completion of the Sanibel Causeway in 1963.

The cruise offers a birder’s paradise along with a lively narrative featuring rich island history and Pine Island Sound ecology.

“There’s a good chance of seeing white pelicans, the chance of seeing bald eagle, osprey, magnificent frigate birds, double-crested cormorants, common loons, a variety of wading birds — great egrets, great blue herons, white ibis, snowy egrets – as well as brown pelicans and others,” says Finkel. “It’s quite likely we’ll see dolphins as well.”

If you can’t make this cruise, there will be two more on Mar. 10 and April 7. However, the snowy white wintering pelicans may be gone by then.

The cruise will depart from McCarthy’s Marina, 11401 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, at 4:45pm and will return at 6:45pm. Proceeds will help support SCCF’s shorebird monitoring program. $45/adult, $35/child. Reservations are required. For more information call Captiva Cruises at 239-472-5300 or book online at www.captivacruises.com.

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