Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Recent Sightings on Sanibel

We sometimes hear guests say that they did not see much of wildlife visiting the island.

And though there are always variables in sightings based on time of day, time of year and location, the most significant reason for not seeing an abundance of wild life is the lack of looking for it, as well as the great camouflage of some of our critters.

Some of our wild life is very apparent and a short walk on the beach will allow the average birder to see pelicans, sea gulls, sand pipers, ibis,  even a great blue heron on occasion.

But there are so many more birds and creatures that live happily on Sanibel a bit under the radar.

Here is a sample of the great island residents that  have  been sighted in the last few weeks and some tips of where, when and how to spot them.

The Pileated Wood Pecker is the largest woodpecker in the United States.   You may well hear him before you see him, though, as he is a bit on the shy side. The call is a loud, far-carrying laugh, sometimes described as a "jungle bird" call due its wild, un-fettered quality.

Usually, pileated woodpeckers excavate their large nests in the cavities of dead trees. Woodpeckers make such large holes in dead trees that the holes can cause a small tree to break in half. The roost of a pileated woodpecker usually has multiple entrance holes. Pileated woodpeckers raise their young every year in a hole in a tree.   So a tree with a large hole may well be the home of a pileated wood pecker and worth keeping an eye on.

And while there are many heron to be seen, some quite apparent, the Green Heron may be more of a challenge to distinguish.  As with the pileated wood pecker, the sound of a green heron may precede the sight.  The green heron's call is a loud and sudden kyow; it also makes a series of more subdued kuk calls. During courtship, the male gives a raah-rahh call with wide-open bill, makes noisy wingbeats and whoom-whoom-whoom calls in flight, and sometimes calls roo-roo to the female before landing again. While sitting, an aaroo-aaroo courtship call is also given.  Keeping your ears open may result in an eye opening experience.

And one of the most enjoyable sights you may have on island is that of swallow tail kites.  Our most beautiful bird of prey, striking in its shape, its pattern, and its extraordinarily graceful flight. Hanging motionless in the air, swooping and gliding, rolling upside down and then zooming high in the air with scarcely a motion of its wings, the Swallow-tailed Kite is a special joy to watch. At one time it was common in summer over much of the southeast, but today it is found mostly in Florida and a few other areas of the deep south.

We hope you will keep your eyes and ears open and let us know what your sightings are!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sanibel's Strong Presence on the Internet: Getting to know us

While we applaud and appreciate all the efforts made to familiarize the public with our enchanting Sanibel Island, we realize that many web sites, promotional pieces and even blogs like our own have certain limitations.  All of us, invested in the Island and well seasoned as residents and business owners, see this small piece of heaven through our veteran eyes.

Though we keep things honest in what we say, we do have a different process for filtering information that is not necessarily present with the average vacation renter....or even above average vacation renter.

For those looking for an off the beaten path view of Sanibel, a quick excursion through the internet may provide that opportunity.

There are many pages devoted to the Island on such social media outlets as Facebook, where feedback is numerous and virtually on a daily basis. Those weighing in with opinions are doing so with, in most cases, no bias, or at least no apparent one. 

Some of the groups are marked "closed" which means you have to join the page to see the comments or make one yourself, but the back  and forth remarks certainly give the reader a look into the Island that more formalized approaches miss.

And, as they say, one picture is worth a thousand words.  There are several photo pages where not only can you see some beautiful images of the island but also find some good background on the pictures taken.  Among the image rich sites for Sanibel are instagram , now known as iconosquare, and pinterest.

Again, with some of these pages you may have to register to see the offerings, but some are very special with ways to catalogue and book mark what you are viewing.

Of course there is the dowager of internet pages for Sanibel discussions which are posted in the forums on TripAdvisor.  As with anything you find on the internet, discretion is always important since there is no way to verify exactly who is posting and what their intention is.  But you will find a lively group discussing all aspects of Sanibel in these forums and can generally discern the realities by reading between the lines.

Yelp also offers reviews of various aspects of the island and can be helpful in reviewing where and how to spend your time and money on island.

A well read consumer will always enjoy Sanibel the most!