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Updated: 03/14/2014 08:00:02AM

Sanibel’s secrets

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Mostly black skimmers with laughing gulls, sandwich tern, semi palmated plovers.

short billed dowitchers

dunlin

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Months ahead, the planning committee meets to create the Venice Area Birding Association schedule for the year. An interesting and fun trip is the one to Bunche Beach and J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. Don Rippeon and I have led this trip for quite a few years now. We have to be very careful and get the low tides figured out for Bunche, and also for Ding. It’s important because the shorebirds will be feeding at low tide and they will not be present when the tide is high. So, with that in mind, eleven VABA members met at Bunche Beach to begin our fabulous day of birding.

The morning was a beautiful sunny morning with a nice breeze off the Gulf of Mexico. We all had great anticipation and we were eager to see what birds were going to present themselves to us this day. Tom Duch, our shorebird expert, was in the lead as we started the hike north on the beach toward the sand bars. Immediately Deb Johnson, our young eagle eye, spotted a reddish egret flying overhead. Hundreds of peeps and black skimmers were feeding out on the sand bar.

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