Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Holding Animals in Gentle Esteem on Sanibel

In an earlier post, I had written about Armadillos on Sanibel. They are the cutest critters and I had mentioned them as being one of the Island's most unique creatures. Their appearance and behavior sets them apart from all our other non human residents.

There had been a comment on the post calling the little critters "harmless" and a recently written comment talking about the harm that their burrowing can bring about.

While the latter comment is no doubt accurate, I felt compelled to respond to it as there is an issue in my mind, and in the mind of many of the Island human residents, that there should be a "territorial imperative". Can we as humans take too much umbrage with the harm that our animals do when the Island's two legged population has obviously come much later in the Island's evolution?

In fact, don't we choose an Island like Sanibel----whether to live or vacation---- because of the nature, because of the strict enforcement in protecting all these creatures, because of the love for all these creatures?

As with the aggressive large animals, such as alligators who lurk close to our residences, there is definitely a concern. And the Island officials are ready and able to "remove" threatening alligators. But many, if not most, residents are very reluctant to report them. Most of us feel that we are stewards of the land, and protectors of all those who have no voice of their own.

We recognize that they were here first, and that the Island should be their last resort.

So for those creatures who need conservation, and even for those who do not, there is a place for them on Sanibel. That's the way it is and that is the way it should be!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Through the Photographer's Eyes

It's been a while since I posted and and an even longer while since I posted about photography on Sanibel Island.

But my "discovery" of a new photographer on the Island motivated me to get back on blogger and jot some thoughts down.

Laitham Haddad, the creative talent behind the lens of TWO EYES, ONE IMAGE photography, has two distinct advantages over most people who love Sanibel. He lives there. And, he sees things a bit differently than the rest of us.

When I see his images, such as the one used here, I am always struck by how he is able to add drama to something that I might walk by with little notice. He does not add the drama with photo shop or any other "tricks", but just by shooting at exactly the right time. Right time of day, right time of year. I am engaged by his visions and often the vision is enhanced by a moody sky and contrast lighting.

TWO EYES, ONE IMAGE has a Facebook page which has catapulted to popularity virtually overnight. While many of the page's followers, like myself, are people who know and love Sanibel Island, many have never set foot on Island. They, also like myself, are just drawn to Laitham's creativity.

Now we have to admit that there are no end of photo opportunities on our beautiful tropical Island, but what Laitham does is to take what might be an ordinary scene and make it extraordinary with his ability to capture the moment when it is most magical.

I hope to feature other photos in the future, and hope you will visit Laitham's page and return to this one for some truly stunning scenes of the Island of Sanibel.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Is Florida a Better Beach Destination than California?

Other than Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, one is always taking a big chance in comparing beaches. There are many factors to be considered, from quietude to animal viewing, and each beach has its own character and advantage.

Yet, when I just received a long and glowing note from my California vacation rental guest about her stay on Sanibel, I had to do some considering. Her note began: "Living on the West Coast we are Hawaii people and I was not sure about Florida when I first arrived. Sanibel is a different story!!"

She was not our first guest from California, nor the first to be so impressed with the Island, but it did prompt some comparisons in my mind.

Both California and Florida are long and narrow states with beaches up and down the coast.

Of course California has mountains, and many towns dotting the coast are older with more history and perhaps more charm.

But when you come right down to the beaches, that's a different story that may be the reason more and more Californians are flying across the country to spend time on Florida beaches, including and especially Sanibel.

And I will talk specifically of Sanibel here, though my descriptions could fit many other beaches in the Sunshine state.

The first thing that hits you on a Sanibel beach is the almost always calm Gulf. For us, a wave is a rare sighting, and ---except for during bad storms---- what waves there are are small and gentle. The Gulf of Mexico is transient in color, some times emerald green, some times acqua marine, but the tranquility of the water is pretty static. As are the ever-present palm trees lining the beaches....no cliffs or rocks, but plenty of greenery beautifully frames the Gulf.

And then there is the nature on the beaches and in the water. California may have sea lions, but we have manatee and frequent dolphin sightings. Our dolphins,especially, love to have company in the water and will swim a short distance away cavorting and flipping over in joy. The beaches are almost always lined with shore birds: plovers, egrets, herons, pelicans. You name it and you can find it. Easily.

And last but not least, there is the water temperature. Most of the year, there is no need to "test" the water. It is perfectly comfortable, warm enough to not chill you to the bones, cool enough to refresh.

So is there a comparison to be made between CA and FL as a beach destination? Sure, and in the total of comparisons, Florida looks pretty good!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Where the Birds Are: Sanibel Could Have Been A Contender for The Big Year

If you have the slightest interest in birding, or the slightest interest in traveling, you have to see the movie, The Big Year.

It shows dramatically and often quite humorously, the lengths that serious birders will go through to see a bird and add to their list of check offs.

And to make the movie totally true to form, the scene shifts from beautiful location to beautiful location. Well, ok, maybe Attu Island in Alaska left some aesthetics to be desired..but still.

The one disappointment, however, was that Sanibel was not one of the locations.

It baffles me that beautiful, tropical, pristine and natural Sanibel was not one of the birding locations, especially considering that there are dozens and dozens of birds to be seen.

And unlike the birding that takes place in this delightful film, birding on Sanibel Island is relatively quite easy.

You get up early, place yourself where a particular species is known to be sighted, and chances are pretty good you will get what you came for.

People come from all over the world to discover and enjoy Sanibel's abundant nature, and birding is on the top of the list for many of them.

All that said and done, the bird watchers in The Big Year will now be watched themselves. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) will show the The Big Year and host author Mark Obmascik during “A Big Night – Dinner & a Movie” starting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, 2012, at the Sanibel Recreation Center at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road.

So if you missed the movie or want to question why Sanibel was not one of the locations, now's your chance!