Beach resident and biologist Cristina Denegre was among four people that recently performed a nest count of birds inhabiting the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve.
Denegre, co-owner of Good Time Charters, was accompanied by Chris Griffin of Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve, Ryan Herford of Estero and France Paulson of Fort Myers on July 14. During the trip, 96 nests were counted on seven islands.
The species of birds nesting included snowy egrets, little blue herons, great blue herons, yellow-crowned night herons, black-crowned night herons, green herons, brown pelicans, cormorants, great American egrets, tri-colored herons and reddish egrets.
A successful bird count was performed by (top, l to r) Chris Griffin, Ryan Herford, Cristina Denegre and France Paulson.
The Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve staff monitor a total of 24 islands on a monthly basis in conjunction with volunteers. This effort helps in making land management and conservation decisions.
Denegre has been a volunteer biologist with the group since 2008. She stated she has been involved because of the importance of protecting and preserving Estero Bay and keeping her tour guides and captains knowledgeable about local bird populations.
The data collected is included in the annual South Florida Wading Bird Report that is used by local, state and government agencies as well as state universities.
Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve is the first aquatic preserve established in Florida and called one of the most productive estuaries in the state. The preserve protects the water, inlets, and islands along 10 miles of Estero Bay.
--submitted by Theresa George, Paradise Advertising