Nationally acclaimed bird authors, TV personalities, and longtime Sanibel Island winter residents Don and Lillian Stokes will again contribute their time and expertise to lead two fundraising birders tram tours of the “Ding” Darling Refuge on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Visitor & Education Center doors open at 7 a.m. for continental breakfast, and trams depart at 7:30 a.m.
Wildlife Drive is normally closed on Fridays, meaning tour participants will have the birds and the Stokes to themselves. Lillian Stokes will speak about and demonstrate bird photography on one of the trams, while her husband, Don, on a second tram, will focus on the principles of bird identification.
Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s official recreation concession, will be donating the use of two trams. Together, they accommodate 60 passengers, so interested persons are encouraged to make reservations as soon as possible, because the Stokes’ past tram tours have filled up quickly.
Don and Lillian Stokes have authored more than 30 books in their Stokes Field Guides series and once hosted a birding television show for PBS.
“The Stokes are veteran birding experts recognized throughout the country, and they have a huge following,” said Birgie Miller, executive director of the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), which is organizing the tours. “This is the sixth consecutive year we have offered the Stokes private birding tours, and they are immensely popular.
“Thanks to their generosity and our partnership with Tarpon Bay Explorers, 100 percent of the proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit wildlife and education programs at the refuge.”
Cost for tour tickets are $100 each for a half-day tour that includes coffee and continental breakfast and use of spotting scopes on the drive. Full, nonrefundable payment is required for reservations.