Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ding Darling, Sanibel and Beyond

On 1/31/2013 morning we birded at Sanibel and Ding Darling NWR. We started at the lighthouse in Sanibel and quickly found 3 Razorbill! I took a possibly, maybe, barely identifiable photo of one that I was going to post. Fortunately, yesterday Craig Bateman and I found a/the Skyway Fishing Pier Razorbill that I got much better photos of, but more on that later.

We worked down the beach and found many terns, gulls and skimmers loafing on the beach. Black Skimmers are awesome!

Black Skimmer

Ding Darling was full of wading birds. Immediately after paying our entrance fee, we noticed this Yellow-crowned Night-Heron attracting a crowd.

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron

A little further up, a few birds were sitting or fishing in some shallow water near a culvert. Roseate Spoonbill, Reddish Egret and American White Pelicans were in wonderful light.

Roseate Spoonbill
Reddish Egret
American White Pelican

Along the drive, Common Ground-Doves were scattered about. In my experience, these are quite a skittish dove. Using the car as a blind, I was able to get a useable photograph.

Common Ground-Dove

After completing the wildlife drive, we headed to Cape Coral. We followed up on a recent report of Burrowing Owls at the Pelican Blvd. Baseball Fields. Sure enough, a few Burrowing Owl mounds were roped off. Most must have been sleeping since they were not very obvious. Only one owl was poking his head up from underground.

Burrowing Owl

Florida Scrub-Jay was another target. We checked a few spots; Shamrock Park and Caspersen Beach just south of Venice with no luck. We finally moved to Oscar Scherer State Park, a well-known spot for the Jays. With a tip from another birder, we found a couple of friendly Jays who were curious to our presence.

Florida Scrub-Jay

We had a bit of time to check a few beaches further north, but we found nothing too exciting. We called it a night and prepared for our next day of birding. My next post will include photos and commentary from Fort De Soto, St. Petersburg, and Hernando Beach!

I’m almost caught up with postings from our birding trip down here. I have a ton of pictures from birding around Tall Timbers and my first weekend off. Hopefully I’ll be all caught up soon!

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