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Friday, March 1, 2013

Florida Trip - Day 4

       We started our fourth day in the Fort Myers area of Florida. We decided to try a place called Bunche Beach Preserve.
Kayaking at Bunche Beach
       Bunche Beach is located in Fort Myers Beach and offers some great shorebirding opportunities. There is a mile long beach that you are able to walk along and the shoreline itself is covered in mangroves. From the shore you able to see Sanibel Island across the bay. We parked the car and as soon as we hit the beach there were shorebirds all over the place. There were close up looks at two Wilson's Plovers among the Sanderlings and Dunlin.
One of two Wilson's Plover
        Also among the shorebirds were several Piping Plovers which was a new state bird for us.
Piping Plover
        Other birders were present on the beach and it seemed everyone of them that we talked to were foreign. We spoke to a British couple and showed them some Black Skimmers and a fly over Bald Eagle which they were quite excited to see. There was a German couple who actually pointed out to us some Marbled Godwits and then a man from Canada also. 
        As we continued along the beach it started wrapping around a corner and we found ourselves walking along a small stream.Along this stream we came across Spotted Sandpiper and a surprise bird that I didn't really expect to see.
Turned out to be a Long-billed Curlew
        Back out on the beach we found plenty of gulls, Caspian and Royal Terns, Willets and Pelicans. So we started heading back to the parking lot and headed for Sanibel Island. The causeway over to the island had a few pull offs that we stopped and found our first and only Common Loon for the trip. Also there was a Great Egret stalking a fisherman waiting to steel his catch.
Black & White of Great Egret
       On the island it was a real hassle getting around. We were going to Ding Darling NWR which is about 5 miles from the causeway. It took us over an half an hour to get to the refuge because of the traffic. We finally arrived at the refuge and took the tour. The only new bird we added was a Reddish Egret dancing around in a pond as he was hunting for lunch. After this we headed to lunch at a real nice restaurant called Cip's. We dined on the outdoor patio and were kept company by two Sandhill Cranes. We actually did observe some Sandhills but didn't get photos.
Two Sandhill Crane statues
        After lunch we hightailed it off the island and on our way through Fort Myers we stopped at the Thomas Edison winter laboratory. 
Banyan Tree at the Edison Home
Al resting at the Caloosahatchee River
         From here we traveled across the state again to the Atlantic side of Florida where we stayed in Boynton Beach and plans were to go to Loxahatchee NWR  and back to Wakodahatchee Preserve.
Night at Boynton Beach

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