Birds, Gators, Sharks, and Crab . . . oh my!

A week of photos from my yard, Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge and the beach.  Our son is on the island for a visit and wanted to go to the beach today to see if we might find a few birds to photograph.  We couldn't have asked for more birds!

We went through Ding after low tide was over, due to a mistake in the tide chart I happened to check.  We still had lots of photo ops, though!  The Reddish Egret is always fun to watch dance around.

This tiny Fiddler Crab was fiercely guarding his muddy burrow!

I had no clue that sharks would come into the bay at Ding.  The Manatee will come into the bay, so why wouldn't a shark, right?  A park guide pointed the shark out.  I have no idea what type of shark it is, so if anyone knows what it is just from the fin, please chime in on the comments section!  The exciting part was when it got into a kerfuffle.  It was pretty far away, but I caught it with my long lens.

There was a huge splash and everything happened very fast.  I managed to get two photos.  We assumed the shark found a tarpon to eat.  But, if you look really close at the second photo below, I think it was more like he ran into a couple of gators in the shallow water.

Click on the photo below to enlarge it.  Look on the right hand side of the photo.  I'm pretty sure that is a gator's back.  You see one of the fins of the shark mid photo, but there is a lot of other movement in the water, like maybe another gator?  I was just so far away that it is hard to be sure exactly what happened.  But, it was exciting, anyway!

Then, back home to our resident 10 foot gator in the water behind our house!

The bird below was in a tree on Captiva Island.  I had no clue what type of bird it was, so I asked the bird expert in our neighborhood.  He said that it isn't anything exciting.  It's a juvenile European Starling, but it still has some pretty feathers on its chest.