Life along the beach in Southwest Florida has been difficult in 2018, with persistent red tide brought on shore by westerly winds. The resultant mortality of fish and invertebrates plus airborne toxins very irritating to the eyes and lungs chased away not only tourists, but also our beautiful shorebirds.

Although I do not have direct evidence of the health of populations of small fish and invertebrates along our beaches, the presence of considerable numbers of shorebirds that make up the normal food web in this area supports the conclusion that some normalcy has returned to our beaches.

Bill Dunson is Professor Emeritus of Pennsylvania State University, thanks to a career spent entirely at that institution, teaching and doing research. Always curious about nature, Bill has dedicated his life to learning and sharing his knowledge with others. Contact him at


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