Local birders know to visit the south side of Gandy Blvd at Gandy Beach to look for the uncommon Gull-billed Tern from April through August. By mid-summer great numbers of Least Terns and Black Terns congregate and a few species of shorebirds gather here, too. However, this area is often crowded with recreationalists and their vehicles. So the plan should be to get there very early or right after a heavy rain. There’s nothing like rain to clear the beach of humans and their unleashed dogs.
FALL: Besides the many terns and gulls that congregate along the beach there is usually a good number of Black Skimmers. Even after being disturbed by a passing vehicle, a swimmer, or an unleashed dog, the birds eventually come back again. Watch for Black-bellied Plover, Willet, Dunlin, Sanderling, Least and Western Sandpipers, and Semipalmated Plover. Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants and Osprey are easy to see during the fall season.
WINTER: Besides the shorebirds, gulls and terns, birders should take a minute and scan the north side of the causeway for wintering ducks including Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead and Red-breasted Mergansers. A few may also utilize the south side of the causeway.
SPRING: This is usually the place where the first Least Terns are reported each spring, usually during the last week in March. Other terns to expect include Royal, Sandwich, Common and Caspian.
SUMMER: Lots of people take advantage of Gandy Beach during the summer months of June and July, but there are plenty of birds around, too. Expect Willet, Laughing Gulls, Brown Pelicans, Least Terns and as July turns to August Common and Black Terns. There may be hundreds of each early in the morning or very late in the day.
INSIDER TIPS: There are no facilities at Gandy Beach. The closest restrooms would be back west about a mile at the Racetrack Gas Station. Driving down on to Gandy Beach is not recommended for low clearance vehicles. The hard sand is bumpy and the soft sand is, well, soft. Just be careful.