Given the specie's "relative" rarity, many Florida birders seek Gull-billed Terns. Currently, a "sure bet" sighting is available in Ft. George Inlet in NE Duval County. Both GBTE's and Least Terns have arrived here with the former engaged in conspicuous pre-nesting activities. To observe Gull-bills, one can obtain bird's-eye views off the west end of the A1A bridge that spans Ft. George Inlet. Just below the raised embankment and virtually beneath the large cell tower, is a high marsh mud flat with abundant fiddler crabs. When this little habitat becomes exposed on ebbing tides, one can sight numerous Gull-bills performing aerobatic stunts as they forage for the little crustaceans. 

Because the site adjoins busy A1A, visitors would be wise to park below the bridge's west end and hike below the highway embankment. Alternatively, one can cross over to the east side of the bridge and view the terns where & when they occasionally forage along the edges of the retention ponds and/or along the rock revetment lining the inlet. Currently, pairs are engaging in vociferous courtship flights and their characteristic calls draw one's attention overhead to the inlet's expansive skyscape. Also worth investigating in the same vicinity, is a tiny marsh pond west of the grass parking lot and north of the cell tower. Occasionally found there are: Snowy and American Egrets, Lt. Blues and Green Heron, and sundry waders at "spitting distance".  

Additional species now present in the inlet include 250 Red knot that forage for abundant donax on the expansive shoals between Huguenot Park and Lt. Talbot Island. A scope is required to locate the birds and bring them into view from the inlet shore. 

The inlet is accessible along and off coastal highway A1A that runs north to Amelia Island or, conversely, merges with Hecksher Drive that runs west along the north bank of the St. Johns to I-95, 25 miles inland.  

Doris and Pat Leary, Fernandina Beach, Nassau County

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