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.
Even though some impressive thunderstorms rocked Southwest Florida this week, the Six Mile Slough Cypress Preserve in Fort Myers is a dry, dry place. This might sound like a bad thing, but it’s a natural part of life in Florida for the slough’s wildlife. Around this time of year the ponds get very shallow and there’s no place for the fish, crabs, and other water creatures to hide from the birds and alligators. This creates a “feeding frenzy” where dozens of birds gather in small ponds to feast. (Read on for a photo gallery from the feeding frenzy!)
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.
The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island is one of the top spots for finding water birds in the United States. Growing up on the East Coast I was familiar with herons, egrets, and the occasional bald eagle, but the variety of them in Florida came as a shock. Check out these shots from the Darling Preserve.