Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Sanibel Island Day 10

Today's outing was a bike ride through the Bailey Tract.  It is an easy ride from Sandy Bend.  And we took a break for lunch at the Over Easy Cafe.  We saw birds, alligators, turtles but I didn't try to take photos.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sanibel Island Day 9

Today was a day for wildlife searching.  The naturalist on our nature cruise at Ding Darling told us about a good place to see manatees.  There is a power plant in Fort Myers that releases warm water that was used for cooling.  The manatees congregate there so they created Manatee Park where people can go see them.  This is a typical view.

And a snout captured by my daughter with her good camera.

There is also a kayak rental place there with put-in on the adjacent Orange River.  You can paddle among the manatees out in the river, though you shouldn't get too close.  The river is part of the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, so this serves as a good put-in.  But the rental kayaks are the minimal bathtub sort that I wouldn't want to take very far.  But if we are ever in the area with our own boats, it is something to consider.
Our next stop was Cape Coral, which is known for protecting burrowing owls.  We looked a couple places where they are known to hang out and actually saw one.  I didn't attempt a photo since it was so small, distant, and well-camouflaged.  But my daughter got a great photo.

The day ended with a beautiful sunset.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Sanibel Island Day 8

We started the day with a beautiful sunrise, complete with a sliver of the moon.

This morning we walked the Indigo Trail at Ding Darling.  We saw this spoonbill next to the trail.

W walked back and got the car and met us on the wildlife drive, so we didn't have to retrace our steps.  This osprey was in a tree right over the road.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Sanibel Island Day 7 - Farmer's Market

We woke to 45 degrees but bright sunshine.  A perfect morning to stay off the cold beach and go to the Sunday morning Sanibel farmer's market instead.  Wow, it was awesome.  There were the usual fruits and veggies and then an amazing array of prepared foods and food trucks.  We'll be feasting for days.  I can't believe we never discovered it before.  It is certainly popular.  It opens at 8 AM.  We got there about 9:30 and the main parking lots were already full and people were streaming in.  We managed to find parking in an overflow lot.  I don't know what you do if that is full too.  Next year we'll go earlier.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Sanibel Island Day 6 - Shark Valley

We woke this morning to 65 degrees, which was forecast to be the high for the day, with cloudy skies and high winds.  I don't think I've never seen the Gulf this rough.

We checked the weather for south and east of here and found it was supposed to be in the 70's and sunny.  It seemed like the perfect day to go to Shark Valley.  Apparently lots of other folks thought the same thing.  By the time we got there about 12:15 the parking lot was already full and we had to park way out on the road.

We saw LOTS of good-sized alligators

but not nearly as many birds as we are used to seeing.  In fact, the birds were more dense alongside the road as we drove there.  That is probably due to the fact that the water throughout the Everglades is still high from the hurricane, so there is no reason for the birds to congregate at Shark Valley.

We still saw the usual assortment:
Tricolor heron

Snowy egret

Great blue heron

Lots of anhingas

We saw several green herons, which we hadn't seen anywhere else.  And we saw wood storks flying overhead before we got there.  And I forgot to mention that we saw frigate birds when we were on Captiva.  So we have seen most of the birds I had expected to see on this trip.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sanibel Island Day 5

Our only outdoor exercise today was a long walk on the beach.  These terns make it easy to tell which way the wind is blowing.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sanibel Island Day 4 - cont'd

We had a wonderful kayak trip this afternoon.  We found a new place to rent boats in Captiva, new for us anyway.  It is tucked in behind the 'Tween Waters Resort.

From here you can paddle to Buck Key.

We turned right in Roosevelt Channel, left into Lloyd's Lagoon and took the neat canoe trail through a mangrove tunnel.  Then we paddled a bit in Pine Island Sound before retracing our route.  The tunnel was so neat we decided to paddle it again instead of going around the end of the key.  We paddled a total of about 4.5 miles.

We saw lots of osprey, including this one drying its wings.

Sanibel Island Day 4

We've had a bit of a distraction on our morning beach walks.  Three days ago we were walking by this house when we heard what sounded like heavy machinery.

That day we watched the left balcony being pulled off by a front-loader.  Each day more was gone.

Today the house looks like this.  A large piece of machinery is busy loading the refuse into dumpsters.

Google searches inform us that it was built in 1997.  It was on the market in 2012 for just over $5 million - marked down from nearly $10 million.  It is not clear if it ever sold.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Sanibel Island Day 3

We paddled the trail among the mangroves in Tarpon Bay this afternoon.

We saw lots of yellow-crowned night herons.

Some ibis up in a tree

and little blue and tri-colored herons and an anhinga.  I also saw a raccoon up in a mangrove.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sanibel Island Day 2

We had a fairly lazy day today.  We walked on the beach, of course, and I just had to take yet another photo of one of my favorite birds, a royal tern.

A gopher tortoise walked by as we were sitting on the lanai.  I didn't want to disturb it by getting close so the photo isn't great.

This afternoon we went on the cruise with Tarpon Bay Explorers to see the birds roosting on the islands in Tarpon Bay.