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January Animals of Ding Darling NWR

We visited the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, 12 January 2002. The Darling NWR is located on Sanibel Island just west of Ft. Myers, FL. In addition to the refuge, Sanibel Island has many developed areas with shops, dwellings, restaurants, and public beaches. There is a toll bridge connecting the island to the mainland.

While many small animals are reported to be resident in the refuge, water related birds are the principle animal to be seen. A paved road, four miles long, open everyday except Friday from about sunup to sunset, provides easy access for watching and photographing birds. The road is one-way, with shoulder parking on the right side allowed all along its length. Several places provide good viewing for birds feeding in shallow water, or on mud flats at low tide.

We made three trips along the four mile wildlife drive. The first started about 8 am. The second started about 11 am, and the last about 4 pm. The tide was low for the first trip and mud flats and gravel bars were out of the water. The middle trip was riding a refuge tram tour with a naturalist guide. The picture on the left is a brown pelican from the first trip. The picture above is from the last trip when the tide was high. These pictures were obtained with a 600 mm Sigma mirror lens.
On the first two trips, roseate spoonbills were away from the road or in trees. for the last trip. they were feeding near the road. Others were also in nearby trees.
On the second trip, a wood stork, white ibis, snow egrets, great egrets, and one night heron were all feeding together. All the above pictures, except the flying pelican, were from the same area.
White Ibis in tree. 600 mm Sigma mirror lens.
Tricolored Heron Yellow-Crowned Heron
Black-Crowned Heron Belted Kingfisher
Anhinga Osprey
Osprey on nest Osprey eating a fish on power pole outside refuge.

There were other birds seen, including several types of gulls, cormorants, and coots. These did not warrant a picture on my part as I see most of them on lakes near my Austin, Texas home. All of the above pictures were taken with a Canon Rebel-G camera and a Sigma 600 mm, F8 mirror lens. Bright sunlight, handheld, either 400 or 800 speed Kodak Gold film.

Periwinkle Mangrove Crab

The naturalist showed us the Periwinkle and Mangrove Crab. These were in trees at the "Red Mangrove Overlook". The Periwinkle is about one inch long, and the crab about 1.5 inches wide.

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