Thursday, December 17, 2009

Birding with My Sister

It's so nice to have my sister, Beth, and her impish husband, Warren, in town! I wish they could stay, but since they head north to Kure Beach, NC next week, we've been busy checking places off our "must see, must do" list.

On Tuesday, Beth and I left the boys to do their own things and we checked out the Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area at the southern tip of Fort Myers Beach before crossing over the bridge and going shelling at Lover's Key. I took great pictures of several Plovers (Killdeer, Semipalmated, Wilson's), a gorgeous Reddish Egret and colorful Tri-colored Heron and a group of Mottled Ducks - but Beth got the same (and better) pictures so let's all take a short break while you check out her blog at - but please come back when you are finished!

This big homely gull was standing at the shoreline. If you look closely at the picture, you will see he is making a strong statement about his opinion of me taking his picture! Beth and I were not sure about his identity - but after checking my books, I think he is an immature Ring-billed Gull. Let's see if my sister agrees.

The dolphins were playing in the waves and chasing the fish right up to the shoreline. They attracted quite a crowd and some of the on-lookers were close enough that I think they could have reached out and petted them!

After a quick lunch at Beth's, we headed over to the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel.

We saw lots of beautiful White Pelicans out on a sand bar. They were closer than usual - so I was able to get better pictures.

They are larger than their brown cousins.

This Snowy Egret was standing by a bridge just begging to have his picture taken. I was taken at just how bright yellow his eye, the back of his legs and his feet are.

Look at that color! It looks like he stepped in Caterpillar (the tractor, not the bug) yellow paint. The yellow stripped legs and bright yellow feet are the key in identifying a Snowy Egret.

These are Blue-winged Teal - the first time I have photographed and identified them. The male (to the right) has a white crescent in front of his eye. Back towards his tail, you can see a spot of the blue that gives him his name.

Raccoons are a common sighting at "Ding." This one is a baby who was following his mama along the side of the road.

After collecting the boys, we all went over to Cape Coral to hunt for Burrowing Owls. Beth read "Hoot" and wanted to see the diminutive owls for herself. Bill quickly found a couple sitting by their burrow and we got lots of pictures. They are so adorable! (Every time Beth or I say this, Bill and Warren mock us.)

Our day ended with a delicious dinner at Ariels Seafood Restaurant. Later, I'll post pictures from our Wednesday trip to Corkscrew.

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