Four cars of Venice Area Birding Association members departed from two different locations to merge together at Bunche Beach in Fort Myers. We were there for low tide. Our group makes a yearly pilgrimage to see the shorebirds at Bunche and then grab a quick lunch. After that, we move on to the main event — a drive through J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
We try to be at Ding at low tide, as that is when the waders and shorebirds fly in to feed. Sanibel is a barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico and part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the U.S. We have to thank editorial cartoonist and conservationist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling for being a nature enthusiast. It was through his efforts as head of the U.S. of Biological Survey, the forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, that the refuge was created.
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