Jul 29, 2013

Bird Sanctuary- J N 'Ding' Darling Wildlife Refuge at Sanibel Island


Wildlife refuge Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island is a shrimp shaped barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. The island popular for migrtory bird populations is home for J N 'Ding' Darling Wildlife Refuge which was established in 1976 to protect the largest mangrove ecosystem and named for cartoonist and environmentalist Jay Norwood Darling

Willets at Wildlife refuge Sanibel Island
Willets
The drive from Naples to Sanibel Island wasn't long. Driving over the Sanibel Causeway was fantastic. After reaching the island I went first to look for a guided canoe trip. Unfortunately, I was late and the tour had left couple of minutes earlier to my arrival! Disappointed a bit, I left for Bailey Mathews Shell museum ($7 entrance fee) which is one must visit attraction on the island IMO. It has a great collection of only shells. Very comprehensive and informative.

Little blue heron at Wildlife refuge Sanibel Island
I then drove up to Point Ybel Lighthouse which is one place most visitors head to during late afternoon. The Lighthouse is not open for public but one could enjoy the beach around. Honestly I didn't find it very appealing.

After looking around the shops which had loads of artifacts made of shells I headed to J N 'Ding' Darling Wildlife Refuge ($5 for car and $1 for pedestrian or cyclist). At first I thought I would go by walk and that way I could spot much of the wildlife. But, NO! The heat was unbearable and ran back to my car in few minutes. I drove around the refuge. The place is bustling with bird life. I happened to see more wood storks, egrets, herons, white ibis, willets, american white pelicans, cormorants and many more birds. Interesting was a Mangrove Tree Crab.

Mangrove tree crab  at Wildlife refuge Sanibel Island
Mangrove Tree Crab
One has to be very careful when looking for birds and other wildlife along the coast. Mosquitoes and the most notorious sand fleas are in abundance. I am talking about these nasty things because I had a first hand experience! 

I was trying to get a good closeup shot of that little blue heron and stepped on the sand flea nest. In fraction of a second these dust like nasty insects were all over my feet and clothes. When I tried to push them off by hands they got on to my hands and upper body. I was tormented for some time and then I took out another pair of clothes from the car trunk and changed there itself! The bites, the itch and the burning sensation lasted for hours. I was itching my feet and arms even on my flight and the lady who was beside me looked at me suspiciously. Very bad! 

American white pelican  at Wildlife refuge Sanibel Island
American White Pelican
From Sanibel Island I drove directly to Miami airport. Driving on I-75 was easy, straight and flat. It was difficult to keep slow on a not so crowded highway. I was in time for the flight but it was cancelled due to technical difficulties. Well, I had a great time in southern Florida though there were some lows like- lost camera,  sand flea attack and then a cancelled flight! What I remember and cherish the most- camping in Dry Tortugas NP, Snorkeling in Biscayne NP, alligators, manatee and the shark!

This is my 200th post in 14 months old blog! Thank you! All the readers of my blog for your encouragement and support! Hope it grows just like it is doing now. Happy traveling :)

Other destinations in this road trip: Everglades National Park, The city of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park and Biscayne Underwater National Park.
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Related articles-
Zion, a peaceful sanctuary
Dry Tortugas National Park, in the middle of nowhere!
Point Reyes National Seashore
Waterfalls along beautiful Hana Highway
National Parks of USA.

This post is linked to Our World Tuesday, Nature Notes and Wild Bird Wednesday.

If you want pictures please ask me :)
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

46 comments:

  1. Nice captures and post. Congratulations Kusum. Hope you travel far and wide in the future and share all those lovely experiences here.

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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    1. Thanks Niranjan! I hope too to travel to far away places in coming years!

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  2. Beautiful shots of beautiful birds! It sounds like you had a great time--apart from the sand fleas! The little tree crab is just delightful to see.

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    1. Thank you Betty! Yes, I too like that tiny crab!

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  3. Ding Darling is a wonderful place to visit. I loved your photos. Sorry, about the little mishaps. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

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    1. Thank you Eileen! The wildlife refuge is simple wonderful!

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  4. You do take us on lovely excursions through your lovely photos and words! Sorry about the "lows" I guess we all have those from time to time and it's never fun when you're on vacation!! This does look like a great place to visit!! Hope your week goes well, Kusum!

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    1. Thank you Sylvia! Yes, there is always some 'low' while traveling but the sand flea attack was terrible!

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  5. Great shots!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  6. That is a great trip, wonderful captures.
    Congrats on your 200th post.

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  7. Lovely captures and interesting commentary. Sorry about the fleas and the lost camera though..

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    1. Thanks Deepak! Yes, sand fleas are very bad creatures that God created and even my enemy shouldn't lose a camera at the ned of a memorable trip :)

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  8. love your bird shots...sounds like a wonderful trip. oh, a lost camera is just awful--i actually cried when i lost my camera during a trip a few years ago. an insect attack is bad news anytime...i'd choose a cancelled flight over an insect attack.:p

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    1. Thanks Luna Miranda. Yes, I too cried a lot when I got back to the motel! Yes, definitely cancelled flight is much better option than those wicked sand fleas, but, Miami airport really isn't good place to spend the night!

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  9. Lovely captures! Happy 200th post!

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  10. We have been to so many places over the years in Florida, where my husby was born, but never here. I have wanted to, but it has just never happened, for we so enjoy heading West when vacations arrive. Yet with your stunning images, that beach and all of the scenes are certainly inviting~

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    1. Thank you Mary for your kind words! Wish you a great vacation!

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  11. Florida definitely seems like a mixed bag. The mosquitoes and sand fleas sound brutal, but look at all the wonderful things you got to see.

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    1. Yep, Florida is great! The wildlife here is wonderful! Thank you for visiting!

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  12. You've got some great shots here!

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  13. Great photos - especially of the Willets - I'd love to see them but they are not a shorebird that migrates down this way.

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    1. Thanks Mick! If not willets you might be seeing other great birds which we don't see here!

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  14. A wonderful post and your images are brilliant to see..

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    1. Thank you Andrew for your kind words!

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  15. An interesting trip (except the flea bites!) and lovely photos.

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    1. Oh yes! it was a great trip! Sand Fleas are wicked! BTW, Thanks so much for visiting :)

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  16. lovely shots and the pelicans in panorama look fabulous

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    1. Thank you Carole, glad you liked the pics!

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  17. Sounds like you were attacked by sand flies - my wife had a similar experience once - not good.

    Great set of shots under trying circumstances!

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

    PS: I have posted another picture to WBW - I forgot last night!

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    1. Thanks you Stewart for your kind words! Yes, that additional picture is great!

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  18. Beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing :)

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  19. Marvellous shot of the willers with their reflections.

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  20. Insect bites. OMG.
    Beautiful shots, the place seems to be rich in birdlife.

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  21. I love the photos.. I have never heard of sand fleas, but it sounds horrible. I have been to the ocean many times but never have encountered them.... Michelle

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    1. Good you haven't experienced Sand flea :) They are common near beach vegetation and in the marshy area. Glad you like the photos!

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  22. Kusum, I have enjoyed your posts about my home state very much! I know that in the future you will remember the good things!
    (Sorry I didn't give you advice before your sand flea attack - before going where they might live, drink pure lime juice, use insecticide with DEET and for bites apply Benadryl liquid and take Benadryl tablets to reduce itching. Maybe this will help someone else!)

    We hope you will return soon and visit more birds!

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    1. Yes! I will always remember those blue skies, turquoise water and abundant wildlife when I think of Florida! Sand Flea are a lesson for which I will be cautious. I am also trying to write an article about sand flea, avoidance and relief. I will use the info provided by you! Thanks so much! It is really helpful!

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  23. One of my favorite places ~ lovely photography ~ thanks ~ Happy Weekend to you ~ ^_^

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    1. Thanks! You are right it is an amazing place!

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