It appears that you are currently using Ad Blocking software. What are the consequences? Click here to learn more.
Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Little Estero

February 8th, 2013 · No Comments

Print This Post Print This Post

Sharon and I loved the laid back feeling of Pine Island in Southwest Florida, but it is almost entirely lacking in sandy beaches. We loved the beaches of nearby Fort Myers as do countless snowbirds and real birds.

The best beaches of Fort Myers actually aren’t in that city. They are on Estero Island, the barrier island between Fort Myers and the Gulf of Mexico. Estero Island is part of the town of Fort Myers Beach.

Russ Burden, who led my first nature photo tour of birds of Florida in February 2011, told me that the main reason why we drove across the state to the Fort Myers area was to experience birds at the Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area. But getting there isn’t easy. No marked trail leads there. The Great Florida Birding Trail directions call for us to park in the beach access parking area at the corner of Estero Boulevard and Flamingo Road. But that’s 0.6 miles even from the north end of this little estuary. Some people park at the north end, specifically at the Holiday Inn at 6890 Estero Boulevard. But even the Holiday Inn is 1.2 miles from the south end, which is a much better place to start, because the sun is at our backs as we start off walking north. So we parked parallel to the south end on Tarpon Road where it intersects with Estero Boulevard and walked the path through a vacant lot to the estuary.

We went there twice and each time we got rewarded for our efforts both in the estuary itself and on the adjacent beach. We actually stayed longer on the beach than along the estuary because it was teeming with birds. I especially enjoyed watching the Brown Pelicans, both because of their unusual form and because of the way they fish cooperatively.

Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) Fish Together

Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) Fish Together

Click on the picture above to enlarge

The next bird is another favorite of mine, especially in this shot. As my mentor Russ Burden keeps saying, “It’s all about the light.”

An American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) at First Light

An American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) at First Light

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Here another one is hard at work.

Investigating All the Shells

Investigating All the Shells

Click on the picture above to enlarge
The Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) Are Alert

The Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) Are Alert

Click on the picture above to enlarge

In the estuary the birds are also fishing. This one caught some seafood that I don’t think I would appreciate as much.

Breakfast for a Great Egret (Ardea alba)

Breakfast for a Great Egret (Ardea alba)

Click on the picture above to enlarge
This Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) Makes a Big Stretch

This Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) Makes a Big Stretch

Click on the picture above to enlarge
This Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) Uses its Wings Like an Umbrella

This Tricolored Heron (Egretta tricolor) Uses its Wings Like an Umbrella

Click on the picture above to enlarge

This is one of the two species of birds, Tricolored Herons and Reddish Egrets, that we saw using an unusual and dramatic fishing technique called canopy feeding. They fold their wings around their heads to provide a shadow so they can see into the water more clearly: a sun umbrella.

Share

Posted in: Florida

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment