Thanksgiving each year brings a visit with family in Southwest Florida. Nature photography opportunities abound during this time. In 2016 our Florida photo adventures included Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island and the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve at Ft. Myers. Enjoy some of our favorite photos.
Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge (Visit 1)
On the Indigo Hiking Trail at the Ding Darling Refuge we hit the jackpot. There is a new overlook tower and the area was brimming with birds. We watched a dozen Roseate Spoonbills playing and bathing.
At the same place an immature Ibis cleaned himself up, and then spread his wings to dry. Notice how the sun lit up his translucent feathers.
Six Mile Cypress Slough
Ft. Myers maintains a beautiful boardwalk trail through the Six Mile Cypress Slough. The boardwalk provides access to a number of ponds and observation blinds. With patience the area rewards nature photographers with beautiful photos. The Great Blue Heron above posed for a long time providing the opportunity for some crisp shots.
Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge (Visit 2)
The Indigo Trail was so special we returned for a second visit and then toured the entire refuge on the refuge drive . We ended up with a number of new bird sightings.
A Night Heron with piercing red eyes. What a beautiful avian!
Anhingas dive underwater to hunt fish and must dry their wings periodically by sitting in the sun. This Anhinga looked almost furry as he dried.
A Little Blue Heron showed off a touch of maroon coloring on his neck. It’s obvious he’s transitioning from the white feathers of a juvenile to his full adult coloring.
A Tri-Color Heron with its contrasting white belly and rump. Notice how the markings on his legs stand out and give texture to the photo.
Finally, we were blessed with several sightings of white pelicans. These gorgeous birds could be found swimming and grooming at several locations along the drive. They are large and stately. What a treat to photograph them so close.
A Cormorant swimming alongside the White Pelicans provided an excellent shot. The pelicans appeared to be watching where he dove so they could copy his actions.
Of course we took dozens more photos on this trip, but the shots above are favorites. If you have the chance to go, Southwest Florida is a birders/photographers paradise during the Thanksgiving season.