Nebel Photography - Pat and Gary Nebel


We are asked more often than we can count, “how do you see nature?” This seems like as simple a question as how do you butter bread, but for those who are more familiar with life in the city, learning how to find nature on your own is confusing at best and maybe even frightening. A good place to begin is by visiting a state or federal, protected area.

Pat and Gary Nebel


Florida is considered one of the best places in the country to see birds, so if you're into birds, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast is a prime location and is a great place to see nature in a safe environment. The most bird activity is early morning or late afternoon; take a camera or binoculars to get up close and personal, hike on the trails or simply sit quietly and let nature come to you. Slow down and enjoy the spectacular nature around you. Click here for Refuge information.


Feeding Frenzy
Dancing Snowy Egret

Arriving just after sunrise we are treated to one of the largest gatherings of white birds we have ever seen in one place! Two lagoons are filled to overcrowding with Snowy Egrets, Great White Egrets, White Pelicans, and a few Wood Storks and pink Roseate Spoonbills thrown in for color.

In the first lagoon there seems to be a dance contest going on; more than 100 Snowy Egrets surround a single pool of deep water. They take turns toe-dancing across the surface, dragging their yellow feet to stir up small fish which are then scooped up using their long beaks. As each Snowy settles into the sideline to enjoy his catch, the next contestant takes his turn at the pool. Further out, a group of White Pelicans is doing a line dance, weaving to and fro in unison, as they dredge the waters with their big yellow bills.

The crowd of on-lookers and photographers assembled along the shoreline swells as the sun climbs higher. One amazed on-looker says, “Could there be any white birds left anywhere else in North America?” Throughout the morning, birds continue to join in the feeding frenzy. The most popular crowd pleasers are the spectacular flights of white pelicans as they “ski” in on their giant yellow webbed feet.

We've made many trips to Ding Darling, but have never been treated to this much excitement. On our two hour drive home we can't stop talking about what we've seen today.

White Pelican
White Pelican
Roseate Spoonbill
Roseate Spoonbill
Wood Stork
Wood Stork