Pelican Bay was founded on the concepts of appreciation and preservation of nature.
Just take a walk along the berm, boardwalks and beaches to observe an astonishing array of plants and animals in an undisturbed, natural setting. Our near-tropical environment enables a host of flora and fauna intolerant of freezing temperatures to flourish.
It’s not uncommon to see more than 20 species of birds on any given morning, making the berm and beaches a birdwatcher’s paradise. Pelican Bay is home to roseate spoonbills and endangered wood storks, as well as anhinga, bald eagles, black vultures, black-crowned night herons, boat-tailed grackles, brown pelicans, cattle egrets, common moorhens and much more. There’s even an osprey couple nesting near the South Beach Boutique & Ice Cream Shop – view the webcam here.
Near the berm, Florida softshell turtles swim and Peninsular cooter turtles bask in the sun. Alligator sightings are common. The gopher tortoise, considered a threatened species in the state of Florida, has found a home on Pelican Bay’s beaches – particularly near the fitness area at South Beach. And loggerhead sea turtles, another threatened species that members help protect, use the community beaches to lay eggs May through October.
All three of Florida’s indigenous mangrove species flourish here: the red mangrove (rhizophora mangle), the black mangrove (avicennia germinans) and the white mangrove (lan-guncularia racemose). Mangroves aren’t just beautiful – they are critical to protect. Approximately 85 percent of the seafood humans eat spends some of its life in a mangrove estuary, yet they are rapidly being destroyed. By some estimates, more than 50 percent of the world’s mangroves have been wiped out. Fortunately, Pelican Bay is committed to protecting its estuary in perpetuity.
Pelican Bay’s private three-mile stretch of beach is a nature lover’s dream. The Gulf of Mexico is home to bottlenose dolphins and endangered manatees that commonly swim close to shore, as well as sea life of every description. Watch predatory crevalle jack fish stir up schools of baitfish that can include more than a million individual fish. Or observe birds – from small sanderlings to large brown pelicans – as they dash in and out of the surf or dive for fish. Black skimmers, gulls, cormorants, ducks, egrets, frigatebirds, herons, ibis, osprey, eagles and more… They’re all here. The beach is also home to loggerhead sea turtle nests, and millions of exquisite, unique shells.
Want to know more? Stop by the Commons Office and purchase a copy of the gorgeous, recently updated Wildlife in Pelican Bay, a full-color book depicting the flora and fauna in members’ backyards. Also available is a Clam Bay Field Guide publication from the Pelican Bay Services Division.
Don’t forget to inquire about Pelican Bay nature walks in season from December to April.