|Great Blue Heron|
|Little Blue Heron followed by the White Ibis|
|A shot of pink courtesy of the Roseate Spoonbill|
We arrived in time to see at least TWO Roseate Spoonbills! One flew off and another stayed for a little while longer before it also disappeared.
Even if you're not a birder, these odd pink birds will grab your attention! Mission was accomplished! My issue here is that these birds are common to many Florida birders, but they were new to me. So I couldn't do the specialized birding that I do in Arizona, California, etc. I heard the Mangrove Cuckoos but didn't see them. I was with 2 other birders who counted them on their list. I didn't do it because I wanted to see them. Some will say count them and others will understand. I made a note in my journal that I heard them. Cuckoos are sneaky birds. And there were many other specialized birds that I knew were in the area, but they require a great deal of time and patience to find.
Finally, here is a little historical information on this strangely named wildlife refuge. Established in 1945 as the Sanibel National Wildlife Refuge, the refuge was renamed in 1967 in honor of pioneer conservationist and political cartoonist Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling. "Ding" headed the U.S. Biological Survey (forerunner for the Fish and Wildlife Service) and is also credited as one of the key people in the development of the National Wildlife Refuge System.