Making a Splash at Ding Darling

Sanibel Island is a subtropical barrier island in Florida. It is home to buckets of seashells, beautiful beaches, and the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.

Strange name isn’t it? It was named after a Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist named Jay Darling. His cartoons were published in the New York Herald Tribute and he would sign them using a contraction of his last name, D’ing, which became his nickname.

He was known for political cartoons but he was also an important figure in the conservation movement and founded the National Wildlife Federation in 1936.

The Ding Darling Refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the USA and is famous for its bird population.

Similar to the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge I visited in December, the Ding Darling Refuge features a wildlife drive where visitors can drive their cars through the refuge stopping many places along the way to take short walks to observe the birds.

Egret, Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, Florida

I made this image of an Egret fishing in a still pond. I love to watch how the Egret stands so still, his beak hovering over the water, the eyes looking intensely as he searches for his meal. I got the Egret in my frame and was all ready to go when he was. As soon as he saw his fish and moved I started clicking and caught this splash as his head entered the water.

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21 Responses to “Making a Splash at Ding Darling”

  1. Howard J says:

    Great timing, nice trigger finger! :-) super sharp and I love the specular highlights in the water.
    Howard J recently posted..Week 6 of 52: “Movie/Song Title” – Top GunMy Profile

    • Hi Howard, thank you!! I love the fact that my camera does 8 frames per second (the reason I chose the 7D over the 5D even though the 5D is full frame). It helps so much in capturing the moment.

  2. Mark Neal says:

    Beautifully done, Anne. That Egret set up a perfect composition for you. Of course, you had to actually make it happen.
    Mark Neal recently posted..HDR for Real – A Very Vertical ViewMy Profile

  3. I LOVE this shot, Anne, what a great composition, and your timing here is just PERFECT!!
    Toad Hollow Photography recently posted..ArchitectureMy Profile

    • Hi Toad, thank you so much! I did a crop to make the composition like this. The whole bird shows in the original image, but I cropped out much of it to ensure the focus was on the water drops. Thank you so much for your visit and comments.

  4. Excellent timing! I have never succeeded in a shot like this – they always just stand still…
    Michael Russell recently posted..A Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)My Profile

    • Hi Michael, Your chance of succeeding in a shot like this is dramatically increased if you try it in Florida! There are just so many more opportunities. And I wasn’t even there in the height of migration or anything, just an average winter day. It really helped my bird photography skills being able to practice with subjects so abundant. Thank you very much for your visit and comments.

  5. Frances says:

    Perfect shot..I love this..Thanks for sharing this to us..
    Frances recently posted..3D TV ReviewsMy Profile

  6. Gorgeous, Anne! I love how the water spirals around the egret’s beak. Well done! You might be interested in seeing my photo Making a Splash -it’s of a much larger animal (Dall porpoise) but similar focus on water effect – in this case, a fountain rather than spiral.
    Laurie MacBride recently posted..Mosaic of Green: the Wet CoastMy Profile

    • Hi Laurie, oh yes, I do remember that image. I think it was the first image of yours I saw and what attracted me to your blog. I have a few dahl’s porpoise images (Hmm, I dont think any are on my website though) so I know how hard it is to get one like that. They move so fast! Thank you very much for your comments.

  7. Edith Levy says:

    This is a spectacular shot Anne. What an incredible capture.
    Edith Levy recently posted..Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf?My Profile

  8. What a great shot, Anne! The egrets I saw in Ding Darling were standing absolutely still and didn’t move at all :). I am happy to include this post in my ePaper

    • Hi again Travel World! Thank you so much for including my image in your ePaper. Other people have commented too that the birds stand perfectly still. I guess I was lucky there was quite a bit of fishing going on when I was there. Perhaps because I went very early. I was waiting at the gate when they opened in the morning!

  9. [...] Making a Splash at Ding Darling – this is a wonderful photo of an Egret going about it’s daily process of fishing for dinner.  Anne McKinnell manages to capture a shot of this gorgeous bird in action at just the right moment, capturing both the bird in mid-fishing as well as an exquisite plume of water from it’s activities.  A stunning shot that is well worth the time to visit!! [...]

  10. Stunning shot, Anne.
    Fred O’Donnell recently posted..Arum LilyMy Profile

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