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

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