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Fish of the Seas, and Birds of the Air

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On Sanibel Island, you're never far from feathers or fins.

Much of the island is home to the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, http://www.fws.gov/dingdarling/

This a fantastic spot for viewing migratory birds and Florida's natural vegetation. There's a five mile wildlife drive you can walk, bike or drive. Along the way are places to walk deeper into the reserve, nature trails, and viewing platforms along the river and mud flats. Sunday morning, Larry and I went over as the gates opened at 7:30. We saw snowy egrets, herons, ibis, brown pelicans, white perlicans, roseate spoonbills (they look similar to pink flamingoes), aninghas, and lots of smaller species. Sunset is another great time to come. It's also fun to see the amazing photography equipment the serious birders and photographers use.

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Just offshore, it is easy to spot dolphins playing in the surf. (yes, I know they're mammels--but they swim, so I'm counting them as fish) They are amazing to watch as they jump and dart, often extremely close to swimmers.

Tarpon Bay is famed for its Tarpon fishing, which we've never done. Tarpon is just fished for sport, not food. We stick to fishing the backwaters and bays from canoe or kayak, sometimes trying surf casting on the beach. We've caught sea trout, pompano, mangrove snapper, and assorted small junk fish. Fish need to be fairly large to take for eating here--a 13 inch trout would be great from home, but undersized here. We take great care to try and not injure the fish as we're reeling in and releasing from the hook, and send all the little guys back to the water.

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On Sunday, we went on a backwater boat out of the Sanibel marina. Larry and the boys caught a lot of small trout using shrimp, and I caught a lot of seaweed. Ah well--we had a great dinner at Doc Ford's on Rabit Road. The winning dish was red snapper, baked like a tamale with spicy masa harina in a banana leaf, topped with a cilantro-lime sauce. The mojitos were pretty grand, too.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 19, 2008 5:26 PM.

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