And Even More Birds

Ft Myers  086One morning Hector and I headed out to Sanibel Island, a subtropical barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico.  We used to drive over to this beach when we lived in Miami to enjoy the warmer, calmer waters of the gulf and to look for seashells, which are abundant here.

Ft Myers  075Ft Myers  068The drive out was a little longer than we planned, so we had to make a choice between going for a walk on the beach or bicycling.  Tough choice, but we decided to head to the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge to go bicycling.Ft Myers  080

Ft Myers  081Ft Myers  090Ft Myers  077“The J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States and is world famous for its migratory bird populations.  The Refuge was created to safeguard and enhance the pristine wildlife habitat of Sanibel Island, to protect endangered and threatened species, and to provide feeding, nesting, and roosting areas for migratory birds.”

“A political cartoonist with an eye toward conservation, Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling was instrumental in the effort to block the sale of a parcel of environmentally valuable land to developers on Sanibel Island.  At his urging, President Harry S. Truman signed anExecutive Order creating the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge in 1945.  The refuge was renamed in 1967 in honor of the pioneer conservationist. “

http://www.fws.gov/dingdarling/

Ft Myers  088Ft Myers  066The Refuge has a number of trails including a Wildlife Drive.  The Wildlife Drive leads you through the heart of a mangrove forest and is a great place to ride a bicycle.

While riding on this trail, we encountered lots of birds, including Reddish Egret, American White Pelican, Great Blue Heron, Osprey, and Snowy Egret.   Sanibel is truly a tropical paradise.Ft Myers  084Ft Myers  087Ft Myers  069

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