D35. Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area

Image of D35. Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area

SiteID: S35

Region: South

County: Lee

Nearest City: Fort Myers Beach

Phone Number: 239-461-7453

Website: D35. Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area

Features/Amenities: Birding by foot/hiking, Best time of day: All day, Recommended length of visit: a few hours

Habitats: Mangrove Swamp, Marine/Bay, Beach/Dune, Mudflats


Walk south on the beach from the parking area and you will find a mangrove- and sea grape-lined lagoon, which hosts waders such as Reddish Egrets, Roseate Spoonbills and Clapper Rails. Palm Warblers forage in the sand near the vegetation (an unusual sight) and Merlins and Peregrine Falcons utilize the cover to stage hunting forays. The beach is a resting area for many species of terns, gulls, sandpipers and more. Wilson’s, Snowy and Piping plovers, Least Terns, and occasionally Roseate Terns, among others, can be found here. The designation of this site as a state critical wildlife area requires special attention from visitors. Species of special concern, some federally threatened and endangered, nest here and others use the area as a migratory stopover or loafing area. Please do not approach shorebirds too closely, and please heed beach closures around nesting colonies.

Directions: From intersection of SR 865/Estero Blvd. and San Carlos Blvd. in Fort Myers Beach (immediately after crossing the “sky bridge”), drive 3.7 mi. south on SR 865/Estero Blvd. to the beach access parking area on the right at Flamingo Rd. The preserve begins about 0.5 mi. south down the beach.

Google Map

Open all year, 24 hours/day.

eBird Checklist

Location: 26.423695, -81.907085