17-05-2001

Sanibel Island is one of Florida’s top sites, where you can see birds during every season. In the morning we started at the lighthouse to search for some possible migrants. Besides a few American Redstarts it was quite empty. J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a large mangrove tidal marshland with several hiking trails and a ‘drive-in’ bird route: a one-way road about 10 km long leading through the marshes for the best sort of car-birding. There were fewer birds here also, according to a local birder. Yellow-crowned Night Heron was hard to find. White Ibis was very common though, as were some heron species like Green Heron and Reddish Egret. Top bird, however, was a Mangrove Cuckoo that showed itself extensively (and was easily photographed) and which showed of by feeding its partner. This all happened near a hide halfway along the route.
Due to the somewhat disappointing results (how easily we get used to new species every day) we left early that day for Myakka River State Park. Just like Corkscrew this park is really beautiful as well and it comes highly recommended. SeveralSandhill Cranes (3 pairs); one single Wood Duck and our first Purple Gallinules were found in the wet areas of the park. The ever-present herons and ibises we already took for granted by then. Fort Myers Beach was good for a fewGreater YellowlegsWilson’s Plovers and several Dowitchers. For our evening excursion we chose Oscar Scheren State Park, because we realized that we still had to tick Florida Scrub Jay. I’ve got the sneaky suspicion that they found us sooner than we found them because as soon as we set foot on the sandy path at the end of the parking lot one flew right at us to land just in front of us. Clearly they were out for food which resulted in some photographs of jays perching on hands that contained crumbs of bread. If only for one moment, I felt like David Attenborough!