Two hours north of Fort Myers lies Dunedin, Florida. It’s a quaint little town and the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays. It’s adjacent to Clearwater, one of the best beach towns in America, and the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The snowy egret is ubiquitous to Southwest Florida, but this wasn’t always the case. Like many other egrets and herons, the snowy egret saw its numbers plummet in the late 1800s. Concerted efforts by conservationists helped bring back the small egret and its range is now expanding along the Eastern seaboard and the South.
The black skimmer is one of the most recognizable Florida birds. With dark black wings and a bright orange beak its look is almost as unique as its foraging style.
Summer in Florida is always stormy. There’s a reason the state is known as the “lightning capital of the United States.” Every summer brings intense storms, but this year feels … more intense. We were in the car yesterday and pulled over into the parking lot of a driving range on Daniels Parkway due to heavy rain. After about 5 minutes of waiting – CRACK – a lightning bolt hit the driving range about 200 yards away. After that harrowing experience we figured it would be better to be on the road. Later we found out there had been 1,300 lightning strikes around 3 p.m. in the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area.
But as the thunderclouds drifted away we drove out to Bunche Beach – San Carlos Bay Preserve to get the sunset that we earned – the sunset we deserved. We were handsomely rewarded.
The first settlers arrived on Sanibel Island in 1833. Quick growth over the next 50 years sparked calls for a lighthouse to help with commerce. By the late 1870’s travel in the Gulf of Mexico demanded a lighthouse. The tower opened in August 1884. Since 1950, the U.S. Coast Guard property around the lighthouse has been a wildlife refuge.
The Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Fort Myers remains closed for renovations, but when it reopens it will remain one of the best places to find wildlife in Southwest Florida. What can you find there? Read on to find out.
As tourism season ends, something else is flocking to Florida’s beaches. It’s the time of year where coastal birds come home to roost and sea turtles begin to lay their eggs in the sand. There are some simple ways you can help Florida’s wildlife flourish.
The black crowned night heron is a very familiar bird in Southwest Florida. This heron nests around the swampy waters and hunts at dusk in inland lakes and pond. In the Southwest Florida area they are common, especially at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve and the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve.
Southwest Florida is a haven for finding exotic birds. Here’s a collection of some of the best shots collected in the past few months. Most of these were taken at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve or the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. Click below to check out the video.