From the Santiva Chronicle:
At one end of the viewing spectrum sits the American Oystercatcher, unmistakable for its beauty and as easy to pick out as a Roseate Spoonbill. At the other end of the spectrum sits the Piping Plover. It spends its life blending into the beach. Unless it moves, it’s likely to be overlooked.
Recently, about 30 birdwatchers on Sanibel-Captiva Audubon Society’s Saturday Morning Bird Walk saw both birds and many others at historic Bunche Beach. The birders were coming off an amazing walk the Saturday before on Wildlife Drive at ‘Ding’ Darling NWR, so the bar was high at Bunche Beach.
“It was another fabulous bird walk,” said veteran birder Hugh Verry, who organizes the Saturday morning sashays to birding hot spots. “We came for the shorebirds and shorebirds we got.”
Four different plover species were seen: Black-bellied, Wilson’s, Semipalmated and the near-threatened Piping.
“With an estimated world population of 6,000, the Piping Plover is a great bird to see,” Verry said.
As was the case at ‘Ding’ Darling, the Bunche Beach tide was correct for great birding. Sanderlings – 75 of them – were doing their wave-dodging dance in the company of Ruddy Turnstones, several sandpiper species, terns, gulls and a seven-spot of Red Knots that flew in to give the group an up-close look.
Then there was the Oystercatcher.
“For sheer beauty, the lone Oystercatcher took Bird of the Day,” Verry said.
Saturday Morning Bird Walks continue through April 7. They begin at 8 a.m. and gather at specified meeting places. All are welcome to join San-Cap Aububon’s experienced leaders on the walks, which are tailored to hit the hot spots at the right time.
For a full listing of bird walk meeting places, click here.
ArtFest is coming, meaning a wonderful array of artwork, culinary favorites, live music, hands-on arts programs and more will return to the beautiful downtown Fort Myers riverfront area on February 3 & 4.
ArtFest will feature more than 200 exhibiting artists, carefully juried from more than 900 applying artists from across the country. Beautiful jewelry, amazing sculpture, unique paintings and decorative metal will be just a sampling of the work attendees can enjoy throughout the weekend.
In addition, the Art Under 20 exhibit and competition will feature work by high school students, and students will also be creating large street paintings in the Chalk Block.
The Publix Art Yard and Youth Stage offer opportunities for children of all ages to create a masterpiece of their very own, while enjoying a variety of great performances.
There’s something for everyone at ArtFest. If you’re in the area, plan to head on down!
Congratulations go out to the talented student photographers who took home top honors in this year’s Sanibel Middle School’s nature photography contest!
This annual school event is a partner program of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and its Wildlife Society, and Bank of the Islands, which provides medals, cash prizes and exhibition space for the contest.
Earlier this school year, the students visited the Refuge with their photography instructor at the Sanibel Middle School, Dr. Terrie Kielborn. The lessons continued back in the classroom where Dr. Kielborn then taught the students how to enhance their photography using computer software and name their finished pieces creatively.
All of the student photographs are now being exhibited in the lobby of the Bank of the Islands at 1699 Periwinkle Way. We encourage you to stop by to take a look!
This amazing photo of an Eastern Screech Owl was taken right outside our Ocean’s Reach office by guest Susan N., from Mifflinberg, PA. She credits her son, Lynden, for sighting it first, saying that he is quite astute at spotting wildlife after his many visits to Sanibel!
The Eastern Screech Owls (Megascops asio) are one of the smallest species of owls naturally found in North America. As is typical of owls, they are active at night or near dusk, with most hunting being done during the first hours of darkness. They use their excellent hearing and night vision to locate prey and they swoop down to seize their prey with their well-developed raptorial claws, or talons. They are also capable of catching insects or small birds in flight.
Thanks once again to Susan and Lynden for such a great photo. We hope their vacation at Ocean’s Reach was simply a hoot!
The Alliance for the Arts is bringing the Stardust Memories Big Band to its amphitheater stage for an outdoor concert at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
Coolers, blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged as concert-goers enjoy some of the greatest hits of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey and others.
The Stardust Memories Big Band is a professional 17-piece jazz ensemble led by Craig Christman. Its mission is to support the development of young, aspiring musicians from Southwest Florida area.
A $10 donation per person is suggested to help keep Alliance programming affordable and accessible. For more information, call 1-239-939-2787.
The collision between civilization and nature in the Gulf of Mexico becomes a uniquely American story in the environmental epic The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis.
On Friday, Jan. 26, the author will be presenting two free programs at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., part of the 2018 “Ding” Darling Lecture Series at J.N. “Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.
The New York Times Book Review called The Gulf a “beautiful homage to a neglected sea.” It won the 2017 Kirkus Prize and is a semi-finalist for an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. The book views the gulf’s history, culture, and environmental value through the art and words of Winslow Homer, Ernest Hemingway, John MacDonald, and other artists and writers.
Before joining the University of Florida in 2003, Davis taught at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., specializing in U.S. environmental history. In 2002, he was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Jordan in Amman.
His book Race Against Time: Culture and Separation in Natchez Since 1930 won the Charles S. Sydnor Prize for the best book in southern history published in 2001. His next work, An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century, received a gold medal from the Florida Book Awards.
Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Early arrivals can save one seat extra each and then may explore the Visitor & Education Center or Indigo Trail before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time. For more information, click here.
Lily & Co. Jewelers introduces a new design for its exclusive ‘Sanibel Wave’ pendant. The latest piece features two dancing dolphins, one with a full body of pave diamonds to capture sparkling waters surrounding Sanibel Island. A juvenile dolphin has a diamond solitaire eye and jumps from Abalone and Mother of Pearl waves encompassed in an elegant halo of diamonds.
“The Sanibel Wave pendant has been a huge hit, so we felt it was time to create a new piece,” said Dan Schuyler, co-owner of Lily & Co. “The new design truly captures one of the most treasured experiences you encounter on the islands – playful dolphins.”
The pendant features Abalone and Mother of Pearl, both natural shells from various countries of origin such as The Philippines, Australia and Tahiti. The Abalone is a type of gastropod shellfish that has an ear-shaped shell, while the Mother of Pearl is the iridescent internal layer found in certain mollusk shells. “The two together with a 14-karat-gold backdrop is striking,” noted Schuyler.
The original Sanibel Wave pendant has been a favored selection for both visitors and residents. Its award-winning design features genuine blue topaz to capture the color and movement of the island waters set in a brilliant diamond circle. The Sanibel Wave collection is part of a truly amazing selection of handcrafted jewelry available at Lily & Co.
The four-legged friends at Lily & Co. Jewelers, Lily and Angel (plus their owners: Sanibel-Captiva Realtor Karen Bell and jeweler, G.I.A. Gemologist Dan Schuyler) invite you to come check out the latest jewelry trends and tips every week. Lily & Co. is Sanibel’s only jewelry gallery, combining couture jewelry, fine art and giftware all in one location at 520 Tarpon Bay Road, across from Bailey’s.