Finally back to taking some photos!

I finally found some time to get out and take photos!  The weather has been cool and beautiful lately.  Not a lot of birds during low tide today, but we found a few!

My daughter was visiting the island last week and we found a few birds along Pond Apple Trail.

It probably doesn't matter in which language you read this, you just need to be careful!  We stayed on our bikes and moved along!!

This photo came out almost surreal.  There was a big turtle just sitting on the bottom in the shallow part of the lake behind our home.  The afternoon sun was hitting him and the water was reflecting the blue of the sky.

I believe these are Pied-Billed Grebes.  Little cuties!!

Raccoon in the tree!

I walked outside to the front deck and heard a thrashing in the cabbage palm near our house.  There were a couple of these little guys eating all the berries hanging from the tree.  I was just glad it wasn't the rats or snakes that also love to live in cabbage palms!!

I caught the osprey below in the middle of preening an errant feather.  He gave me the evil eye and then continued preening.

This teeny frog hopped out of our hot grill just in time!  I love that I can see my reflection in his eye.

Super moon equals super low tide!

We waded through the crowds of people at Ding yesterday to see some of the lowest tides we've seen there.  There were plenty of chances to see many birds up close!  (Apologies ahead of time for so many pics!)

This fisherman had just caught a sheepshead fish.  Their teeth are eerily human looking.

Lots of Great Blue Heron action.  Roseate spoonbills are my favorite, but the Great Blue runs a close second!!

Sometimes, you just have to shake it off!!

And then you just look so handsome!!

Then, you see lunch over there and hurry over!  But, you can still look graceful while you do!

Look closely and you'll see his orange beak sticking through the fish.

We watched as he stabbed the fish, threw it down, stabbed it again many times and dipped it in the water to wash it off.

And then "down the hatch".  How does that big fish with sharp fins fit down that skinny little neck?

Don't you hate when you are the only one having a bad hair day?

And it is a race to the finish!!!

And the winner is . . .

Shrimp snack!

Yum!  Hit the spot!

Be vewwy quiet .  .  .  I'm hunting for little fish!

Ah, got it!!

I see one, I see one!!!

Got it!!!


Ok, so this isn't wildlife, but it was on Wildlife Drive at Ding.  And it is the wildest paint job I think I've ever seen!

We have a huge Orchid tree in our yard.  The blooms are beautiful, but the tree makes a mess that my husband doesn't find amusing!

If you made it this far today, thank you for looking at my photos!

Slow day at Ding

We finally had a nice warm and sunny day, but the wildlife must have been hiding during low tide today.

This little Yellow Crowned Night Heron was doing his best to hide, but we caught sight of him among the branches.

A Great Blue Heron flew by at a distance.  It doesn't matter how far away they are, their huge wing span will catch your attention.

I'm not sure what type of ducks these are, but I hope that someone who does know will tell me!

This pretty little squirrel was checking out the empty bird house in our back yard.

Cool, windy, but sunny day at Ding!

Taking photos midday is difficult due to the harsh lighting.  Today was no exception, but when there is a really low tide at Ding, we head over anyway!  I had to delete most of the photos, but here are a few to share.

This big gator had quite a crowd watching him sleep.  Sometimes, you just need to find a warm place in the sun and sink your feet in the mud, ya know?

I always love to come across a Roseate Spoonbill

I think this is the down of a thistle?!!  The bee liked whatever it is!

My hawk buddy was back in the tree across the street from our house!!

Start out the new year with birds!

With the full moon comes some nice low tides.  I love it when the low tides fall during daylight hours!

This gull and ibis were having a bit of a dust up.  I had to zoom in to see what was causing it!

I'm not sure exactly what it is, but it must have been worth the fight!

This tri-colored heron had found a quiet spot all to himself to fish!

The Anhinga is always eye-catching!

I know it was here somewhere!  We gotta find it!!!

I'm not an expert on gators, but this guy looked like he'd just had a nice big lunch.  His belly was really wide for his size.

Bird Sunday!

We saw lots of different birds today, some at Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge and some in our own backyard.  I love this time of year on the island!  The weather is great and the birds are plentiful! 

This osprey flew overhead with his lunch.

I don't get many chances to photograph a Wood Stork.  Not that they aren't around, just that I am not lucky enough to be where they are.  This one flew in circles overhead at Ding today.

This hawk appeared to be searching for food!

We saw several Blue-Winged Teals today.  They have such a distinctive face.

This Reddish Egret is one that has been tagged on his leg and also has a transmitter on his back.  The refuge is able to track it.

It's Cormorant bath time!!  He should have been clean when he was done.  This went on for quite a while!

There have been a couple of male Mallards visiting the lake behind our house.  One looks a little worse for wear!  They hang with the huge flock of mottled ducks.  To be honest, I don't think I can tell the difference between the mottled duck and the female mallard.  There can be 25 or more ducks out there every day.

The male Mallard below is a little prettier than the one above!

Sunday Birds

A quick drive through Ding Darling and a walk on the beach, gave me a few opportunities to get some pics today.  It was a beautiful day today.   We watched the white pelicans landing on the sand bar. 

LOOK OUT!  I'm coming in!!

Seeing a Great Blue Heron on the stretch of beach where we usually go is always exciting!  I mean, what isn't exciting about standing near a 4 ft. tall bird?

And back home to see this pileated woodpecker.

Majestic Eagle Overload

My blog is about the wildlife on Sanibel Island.  However, today we drove to North Fort Myers to see a famous eagle nest.  Dick Pritchett Real Estate has some pasture land near their office that happens to have a tree with an eagle nest in it.  You can watch the live web cams at  Harriet should be settling in to lay her egg(s) soon.  When we arrived, I could not see any eagles anywhere and thought the 45 minute drive was going to be for nothing.  But, thanks to the nice couple who pointed out that I needed to walk a little farther down the road for a better angle to see one of the eagles guarding the nest.  I took a few pictures, then the other eagle came flying in.  Right after that, the first eagle took off with some sort of food and flew to a nearby tree to eat.  All in all, I took around 190 photos!  Yikes!  Thank goodness for digital cameras!

This one below was sitting in the tree.  The one that flew in did not have any food.  I was busy taking photos of the one that flew in, when suddenly the one below flew out with something that was half eaten.  It looks like a fish, but the eagle was having a hard time eating it because it was so tough.  I guess it could have been a fish with a really tough skin?  However, that sort of looks like a leg hanging down?  

Landing in the tree!!

I'll just go ahead and apologize for so many photos of this eagle.  I was near enough with my longer lens that I managed some fairly closeup pics!

And then there's that moment when an eagle turns his gaze on you and you aren't sure whether to swallow hard and keep clicking away or run!!

And last, but not least, this pretty little egret walking through the grass under the tree with the nest.

White Pelicans Are Back!

We took a drive through Ding today to get our first glimpse of the White Pelicans this season.  I'm always amazed how large they are!  In the pic below, they all seem to be listening to the guy on the left.  I may have to photoshop a Santa hat on them for Christmas!

How would you caption this photo?

This gives you a measure of how big the white pelicans are!

I always get excited when I see pink feathers, since I love the Roseate Spoonbills.  This was the only one we saw today and he was quite a distance away.  Plus, the bright sun was very harsh today.

A big "thank you" to the Ding volunteer who told me about the next two birds.  I didn't realize the one below is a Greater Yellowlegs (love the name).  I thought they were just the regular shorebirds that we see everywhere.

I'd only glanced at a group of birds and assumed they were mottled ducks.  But, the volunteer pointed out that these have black beaks.  The one below is a female Blue-Winged Teal.

Back home for lunch and this little tree frog was hiding in my grill when I opened the lid to start it up.  He wasn't pleased to see me.

The beaver moon last night was so huge and bright!

Big guy!

My friend down the street called to tell me that a big Iguana was in her yard.  He wasn't too happy to see me trying to sneak up and take his picture!  These big ones are kinda scary!

I could not get a good photo of his whole body.  The one below was about the only one that turned out even half focused.  Not sure what was going on.

This photo below pretty much describes how slow I have been to get outside to take photos lately!  Slow as a snail!!

A day at Ding Darling and more Irma cleanup!

The island is beginning to get busy again as the hot weather becomes a little less hot.  The snow birds will be returning soon, both the human and the migratory ones!  The vegetation removal trucks went through our neighborhood this week picking up all the huge piles, taking us one step closer to "normal" after Irma.  There is still lots of vegetation on the island to be removed, but they are definitely making progress. 

I found the process fascinating.  You can't really see it, but there is are electrical wires that the worker was avoiding as he picked up the limbs and maneuvered them into the truck.

This huge pile of vegetation below is about 7 feet high.  This was a combination from our yard and a couple of our neighbors.  Luckily, there is an empty lot next to our house, so we didn't have to kill our grass by piling it in our yard!

We were at Ding Darling Refuge today for the annual Amateur Ding Photo Contest.  One of my photos won "Honorable Mention".  You can see it if you click the Awards tab above and scroll to the bottom of the page.  The mural below is new at the center.  It is painted as if you are under the water.  The 3D manatees were really cool.  

The following photo is of the ceiling, so you are looking up at a 3D gator.  They did a great job on these!

After the awards were given out, we took a drive through the refuge.  The tide was coming back in, so there weren't many birds close up to take photos of.  The Roseate Spoonbills and the Cormorant below seem to be playing Simon Says - stand on one foot!

We got one glimpse of a good sized gator at Ding.

And this guy was on the porch rail at home to greet us!

Strong surf day

The surf was stronger than usual today.  I'm not sure if it had to do with Hurricane Nate, but that seems like a good place to put blame!  The strong surf and wind had blown a few things onto the beach.  The trap below held a lot of interest for this bird.

This "Idle Speed" marker is no longer doing its job on the water.

This jelly fish washed up long enough to get a photo and then a wave took it back out.  It was quite big!

This small boat seemed to disappear between the waves.

This bird flew right in front of my lens.  It was so close that I couldn't get his whole body in the frame!