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My Life’s Birds: #51-55

January 2, 2008

JUNE 10, 1993 – Fort Meyers, FL – The farther south you go in Florida the better the birds get. This, of course, culminates in the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas with its nesting seabirds and promises of Caribbean rarities every time the wind turns from the south, but we weren’t going that far. We were heading down to Fort Meyers, gateway to that famous birding destination, “Ding” Darling NWR.

The Ding would have to wait for another day however, we had to get there first. That meant another day on the road heading south on I-75. But birds in Florida are easily spotting even on the interstate, and in passing a marsh we added Anhinga, Tricolored Heron, and Little Blue Heron to our list one right after another. The herons were particularly nice, examples of the sort of birds that folks come specifically to Florida to see. We’d see many more of course, but these smaller species are still a pleasure for me whenever I run into them.

But it wasn’t until we turned into our accommodations for the week that I began to truly understand the potential a place like Florida has. Of course, in the pond in front of the time-shares were the requisite White Ibis and Snowy Egrets, but it was to the skies where my eyes were drawn because there, soaring in numbers, were Magnificent Frigatebirds. Birds I never considered a possibility. Birds that I did and still do associate with the tropics, with distant bird filled islands surrounded by crystal blue waters and covered with mangroves. Places I never expected to be, but suddenly I was there. Even though the birds were merely circling a man-made pond in Fort Meyers, Florida. It was my first real WOW bird experience. Fortunately the bird friendly part of our trip was just beginning, I’d have a few more before it was all said and done.

  1. Susan permalink
    January 2, 2008 5:19 pm

    A couple of years ago we were standing on the pier at Naples (FL) beach & I looked up to see a magnificent frigatebird soaring overhead. Very cool! I haven’t seen one since.

  2. Kathie permalink
    January 6, 2008 12:17 am

    N8, I’ve never seen a magnificent frigate bird, but I have been to Ding Darling. Funnny name, awesome place! I probably added 50birds or more to my life list when I visited 6 years ago. The roseate spoonbill is one of the best, but the purple gallinule I saw at Corkscrew Swamp was a close second! Enjoy your trip! BTW, Six-Mile Cypress Slough is another great birding place.

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