Little Blue Heron

It is absolutely amazing how many beautiful bird species there are on Sanibel Island and in particular, at Ding Darling NWR.  This Little Blue Heron was standing in a shallow spot waiting for small fish to pass by.

It was interesting how the bird would turn its head all different directions.  Sometimes herons and other wading birds will raise their wings to shade the glare off the water so they can see better.  I didn’t see this one exhibiting that behavior.  Either it wasn’t needed or the bird wasn’t that hungry.

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Sanibel Island, Florida

Nikon D500
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/8.0 – 1/1000 sec – ISO 200

#BirdWatching #birds #LittleBlueHeron #DingDarlingNWR #SanibelIsland #Florida #WithMyTamron

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Old Boca Grande Pier

When we made our visit to the Boca Grande Lighthouse, it was a very foggy morning.  A cold front was passing through and the temperature variation brought out this eerie condition.  I tried to get some shots of the lighhouse with the fog but didn’t get much that was good.  We had seen the remnants of the old pier when first getting here and decided that might be a good photo opportunity.

This was, I believe, the original (circa 1907) end of the line for the Railroad that was the lifeblood of this area.  It was pretty interesting to watch all the gulls and terns roosting on the top of the pier.  The gulf waters were splashing against the rocks while the ruins of the pier stood stark against the white sky.  A neat scene that didn’t last much longer than this.  Within a few minutes, the skies cleared up and things were back to normal.

Old Boca Grande Pier
Gasparilla Island, Florida

Nikon D500
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
100mm @ f/10 – 1/1000 sec – ISO 100

#OldBocaGrandePier #BocaGrande #GasparillaIsland #Florida #WithMyTamron

Ding Darling at sunset

My best results at Ding Darling this year were in the late afternoon.  It seems that the pelicans and spoonbills came in at this time in larger numbers.  The light varied from a bit too dark to spectacular.  Unfortunately, the no-see-ums also like this time of day so that was the one downside.

We had planned to drop by the wildlife refuge to get the late arrivals and it was quite a nice afternoon for that.  Before I knew it, it was nearing sunset so, we just stayed and watched that unfold from here.  There really isn’t a bad place for sunset on Sanibel but, this was pretty spectacular with the reflections off the water and the birds all around.

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Sanibel Island, Florida

Nikon D500
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
80mm @ f/6.3 – 1/1600 sec – ISO 400

#sunset #DingDarlingNWR #SanibelIsland #Florida #WithMyTamron

Beach Breakfast

So, I’m discovering that my identification of shorebirds leaves a lot to be desired.  This is one of the most often noticed birds on the Sanibel beaches last week.  I was thinking it was some sort of sandpiper but I am not sure now.

In any case, I watched as this little guy was picking up breakfast off the beach.  It was interesting to see that the birds were pretty shy about eating while someone was watching.  I’m guessing that this has to do with the fact that, if I was another bird, I might be tempted to steal the meal away.  Don’t worry buddy, I have my Cherrios to eat, I won’t take your fish.

Nikon D500
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
400mm @ f/8 – 1/1000 sec – ISO 200

#BirdWatching #birds #fish #SanibelIsland #Florida #WithMyTamron

Beach gulls

On most of our visits to Sanibel, one of the common sights on the beach was large groups of gulls.  They pretty much always would show up at low tide and occupy the sand bars that get exposed then.  We usually observed people walking, running or with their pets pass by and cause the flocks to rise up and then return to these spots.

This time, it seems the bird population was a bit less than usual.  I imagine the the red tide problem earlier in the year reduced the food sources.  We didn’t observe any issues with red tide other than this smaller population of birds.  There were still lots of birds to see but not the big gatherings we’ve notice before.  Gulls are pretty hardy so, I’m sure they will be back soon.

Nikon D500
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
185mm @ f/8 – 1/1600 sec – ISO 400

#BirdWatching #birds #Seagulls #SanibelIsland #Florida #WithMyTamron

Fish hawk

There are times when opportunity just jumps right up and stares you in the face.  This was one of those times.  On a visit to Ding Darling NWR, we were driving past a spot where you could pull over and walk out onto an outlook.  I had been to this place before and didn’t really intend to stop when I noticed a large shadow pass over us.  The next thing you know, an Osprey lands on a bare tree limb right next to us!

I didn’t even get out of the car for fear of spooking it off and really didn’t need to.  This amazing bird was so close, I just pulled my camera out and lowered the window.  I didn’t even have my longest lens on at this point.  It would have been overkill here anyway.  I thought this was a good test for my new Tamron 18-400 hand-held and it came out very well.

Ospreys are pretty common here and we had seen them around Sanibel in multiple places.  I truly love watching these predators gliding above the waters and occasionally diving in to grab a fish.  After we got to see this one close-up, we drove on to the big opening where the larger birds gather most often.  There, I saw another Osprey bathing.  It was splashing and dunking under the water and then would fly around looking very bedraggled and come back to splash around again.  After several rounds of water play, he flew off to dry out.  Two great opportunities to observe a fantastic bird in one morning.  I was very happy with that!

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Sanibel Island, Florida

Nikon D500
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
155mm @ f/7.1 – 1/4000 sec – ISO 400

#BirdWatching #birds #Osprey #DingDarlingNWR #SanibelIsland #Florida #WithMyTamron

To Everything there is a Season

Nature is full of examples where decay can be as beautiful as new growth.  In this case, the roots of a tree that has fallen and been beaten by waves and baked by the sun are exposed to soft light of a new dawn.

The tree, which is slowly being broken down and worn away yet, it is so interesting to look at.  You can imagine what it once was.  How it grew over many years and how it finally got knocked over.  Maybe it was a big storm or simply years of erosion which caused it to topple.  I don’t know how it got there but, it is fun to wonder over this and be amazed by the cycle that nature is always going through.

Sanibel Lighthouse Beach
Sanibel Island, Florida

Nikon D500
Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD
26mm @ f/8.0 – 1/500 sec – ISO 400

#morning #driftwood #SanibelLighthouse #SanibelIsland #Florida #WithMyTamron