Friday, January 20, 2012

San Carlos Bay Bunche Beach Preserve

A new location that we visited and a new favorite of mine is San Carlos Bay Bunche Beach Preserve, doing a little research ahead of time and finding the low tide time pays off greatly at this location much like Ding Darling.  When the tide is out the area is loaded with all kinds of shorebirds, which is a personal favorite of mine to photograph.   I had a lot of help regarding this location from two Florida friends of mine, Bob Pelkey and Marina Scarr.  Never would have come to know of this place if it weren't for those two.  Thanks to both of you!  The banded Piping Plover below was reported to the Great Lakes Waterbird Research Program at the University of Minnesota.  During my visit I also photographed another Piping Plover, but the other one had not been banded. 

Endangered Piping Plover

 On our particular visit I was able to see 200+ Black Skimmers which was quite a sight, even more so when they all simultaneously exploded into flight on occasion.  My first visit there was a windy one, and one that found me leaving my waders which I brought with me in my vehicle.  With Gulf temps in the mid 60’s and the wind left me quite chilled but with all the action going on at this location that helped take my mind off the somewhat uncomfortable conditions.  My second visit, I remembered those waders though.  

White Ibis

  I was able to photograph Snowy and Piping Plovers at this location, two shorebirds that I badly wanted to see.  Some of the Snowy Plovers I noticed were banded.  Other notable sightings were Reddish Egrets,  Little Blue Herons, a Bald Eagle, Snowy Egrets. 

Snowy Plover

If you are ever in the Fort Meyers area in Florida, this location is one that is definately worth checking out. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

J.N. "Ding Darling" Wildlife Refuge, Florida

My wife and I just got back from a trip from Southwest Florida for the holidays.  We spend several nights on Sanibel Island visiting some familiar photographic grounds and others not so familiar.  We made several trips to J.N. “Ding Darling” Wildlife Refuge located on Sanibel Island.  I have had good luck there in previous visits to this location and would highly recommend visiting this location if given the opportunity.  You never know what you are going to see around every bend on the road. 

White Pelican coming in for a landing.   

You pay a fee and drive your vehicle throughout the 4 mile stretch of roadway through the Refuge.  It is always a good sign when you drive along and you see multiple cars pulled off the roadway and several photogs lining the roadside.  I had good luck with the several visits we made to this location this time around.  I was able to photograph Tricolored Herons, Anhingas, White and Brown Pelicans, Snowy Egrets, Great White Egrets.   Also seeing an occasional Spoonbill which seemed to be less numerous then in our past visit in the summer last year.  

White Pelicans, gulls, and shorebirds preening

Species at this location at times can be far off but more often than not are well within photographic range and are quite tame as they are used to the vehicles and human traffic.  Excellent opportunities for flight shots exist as I had a great experience photographing the various White Pelicans at "Ding Darling"  Other times during the year you can yield great result of Spoonbills in flight. The refuge is closed on Fridays to give the wildlife a break from us humans and vehicle traffic. 

Great Egrets