Bush Key is closed to the public at present due to bird activity. After Wilma the foliage was stripped off of the island so access is denied in order for it to restore itself so the birds can nest. The distance to Bush Key from where I am standing on Garden Key is farther than it looks in this picture. As seen in past photos at times the passage must fill in with sand between Garden Key and Bush Key and it looks like you could have walked over to it.
In 1948 Roger Tory Peterson exclaimed, "Wherever we went there was a fresh eruption of black and white birds, billowing skyward and sweeping down upon us like a tornado. I believe the sooty tern colony of Bush Key to be the number one ornithological spectacle of the continent."
In 1832 John James Audubon observed , "I felt for a moment as if the birds would raise me from the ground, so thick were they all round, and so quick the motion of their wings. Their cries were indeed deafening....."
The Dry Tortugas is the only significant nesting ground in the Continental US for the sooty terns and the magnificent frigate birds. Many others are temporary migratory residents.
I was curious myself to see a Booby as these are around sometimes...next time. Seeing the frigate birds fly so near the light was grand though!!
Note: Information and quotes from the Dry Tortugas National Park News Vol 3 , No 1
Dry TortugasGarden KeyGarden Key LightFort JeffersonFortfortressguardian of the gulfgibraltar of the gulfmigratory birdsgreat frigatebirdsbrickcoaling dock pilingssnorkelingbirdinghistoricalcivil warFloridaBush Keybird havenbird nesting