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Updated: 01/04/2018 08:30:01AM

Low-tide birding

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By Abbie Banks

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It was a perfect Florida winter day. The sun was shining, the temperature was in the mid 70s, and we were on our way — hi-ho, hi-ho — to one of the world’s favorite refuges. This was Don Rippeon’s and my trip to organize for VABA. Sadly, some of our crew took ill and could not attend. This meant we had seven Venice Area Birding Association members squished into Don’s VABA-mobile. Don is in charge of making certain the tide is right. This means we absolutely have to be at the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge for a morning low tide.

We don’t wait until we arrive at a destination to start looking for birds. The long trip to Ding produced a few sightings of sandhill cranes, red-shouldered hawks, many ospreys and their nests, plus wood storks, great egrets and white ibises in the ditches.

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