Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spring Break in Sanibel - The Wildlife

Being the nature lovers that we are, we were delighted with the many forms of wildlife we encountered on Sanibel.  
First of all - everything we saw at the beach.

Many birds including brown pelicans, kites, osprey and this white ibis would feed on fish swimming in the shallows near the beach.  We even saw a bald eagle perched in a tree not too far away.

We saw several sting rays - at times 2-3 were swimming together.

Wes discovered this sea urchin during one of his swims.

Amazingly, Wes discovered this tiny shell that was home to a crab.  We decided to wait for the crab to emerge.

So we waited...
And finally - the little guy decided to come out and scurry around.  Very cool!
The kids spent hours with their nets trying to catch tiny fish out of the schools that would swim by.

We found several of these lightning whelk egg casings on the beach.  Can you imagine a mollusk laying this egg casing!?  Wow.  Anyway - each little capsule can hold 12-30 teeny, tiny lightning whelks.  We only found one that actually had shells in it.

Little teeny, tiny lightning whelks.

Another exhausting day on the beach for this little one.

Sanibel is known for the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge.  We spent a day driving through and walking some of the trails.  
We spotted many lizards

And did some bird watching.

We saw many species of birds.  Like this snowy egret
We were told that we might see an alligator but it was not to be found.  The mangrove forests were really cool though!

We got very close to this little blue heron.
A proud father of three junior rangers.  See their badges?


The Harrises said...

You know what I love about you? Your appreciation for nature and that you actually know the names of each living creature, great or teeny, tiny. The photos were beautiful!

Julie said...

Inspirational! I would have sat all week on the beach, like a big lump. . . and maybe wondered what all these birds and shells were called, but would never have bothered to find out.