Sanibel Island, Florida
October 28, 2010
It was a beautiful day, so I decided to take a drive down to Sanibel Island to see if any of the migrating shorebirds had started to arrive. It was about a 2.5 hour drive and by the time I had arrived the day had gotten quite hot! Tide was out so the mud flats were just full of birds but the sun was high and not in the best position for photographing. I also realized that I must get a better camera this year!
There is a wonderful 4 mile driving trail through the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. There were many places to stop and take photos and see wildlife. One spot takes you out in through Red Mangroves to the mud flats. All along the boardwalk there were small colorful land crabs dashing out of site! There were many varieties of shorebirds poking around in the mud looking for a snack. I was able to easily identify a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Little Blue Heron, Ibis, Great and Snowy Egrets, Sandpipers and Plovers and more! One really had me stumped – I found out later it was a juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night Heron – Thank you Sandy from the Kissimmee Valley Audubon Society!
I took a few minutes and checked out the Shell Mound Trail as well. It is a short hiking trail at the end of the driving path. This trail is all boardwalk and easy to travel.
The trail takes you around ancient Calusa Indian shell mounds that are up to 9 ft in elevation. There are many Gumbo Limbo trees on Sanibel Island and you can get a close up look at one right on this trail.
While on the island I also had to check out the Sanibel Captive Conservation Foundation’s Nature Center. This nature center is a must see when visiting Sanibel. There is a lot of educational and hand-on displays, the butterfly and plant nursery are other perks. The trails are wonderful; there is a Observation Tower just over a ½ mile from the nature center overlooking Sanibel River. There is approximately 3 miles of trails in just this area of the island.
Over the years Sanibel has wildlife has had less and less land to live on as home construction continues on the island. In the 20+years it had been since I was here last construction had boomed. I nearly did not recognize this one beautiful wild place. I am grateful to the 2 conservation pieces that are saving space for all the wild critters still making their home on the island. I hope to visit the island again soon with a much better camera and share more of its beauty with you!
For more information on Sanibel and the Surrounding area visit: http://www.sanibelisland.com/
For additional photos from this trip check out: http://cid-d8481b2b188e8808.photos.live.com/browse.aspx/Sanibel%20Island
And as always for more information on Not a Clue Adventures our website is: www.notaclueadventures.com (we can also be found on facebook!)