Mar 19, 2011

Florida J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is one of my top favorite places on Sanibel Island to visit when I am in Southwest Florida. There are many other travel destination in this area but as a nature photographer this is one prime location. It is located just west of Fort Myers on the subtropical barrier island of Sanibel in the Gulf of Mexico. The wildlife refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States and it is famous for its spectacular migratory bird populations. The abundant bird life is best viewed during the months of December through March. You may walk, bike or drive your own car along the one-way Wildlife Drive where stunning wildlife viewing is guaranteed.

Common birds are Anhinga, Roseate Spoonbill, Egret, Heron, Ibis; birds of prey and shorebirds present at the refuge are Hawk and Osprey, Plover, Willet and Sandpiper. Seasonal Kingfishers, White Pelican, Dunlin and Stilt may be observed. The refuge is also a haven for many threatened and endangered species, such as the Florida Manatee, wood stork, and American Crocodile. Ensure to include side trips to the soft white sand of Bowman Beach for a stroll and hunt for beach shells or a swim in the Gulf of Mexico. Dinner and margaritas are best served at one of Captiva's outdoor restaurants at the end of the trip where we always like to wrap up and reflect on the day.

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