Water-Related News

Celebrity birders Don & Lillian Stokes return for private refuge birding tours

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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 "Ding" Darling Refuge on the morning of Friday, Feb. 28.

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, 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 80 passengers, so interested persons are encouraged to make reservations as soon as possible, because the Stokes' past tram tours have filled up quickly.

The Stokes have authored 32 books in their Stokes Field Guides series, including their new best-seller, The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America, and have 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 Vertesch, Executive Director of the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge, which is organizing the tours.

"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 $75 each for a half-day tour that includes coffee and pastries in the Refuge Education Center starting at 7:30 a.m. and use of spotting scopes on the drive. To make reservations, email dingdarlingoffice@yahoo.com or call 239-472-1100 ext. 233.

Below is a schedule of special events planned by DDWS and the refuge for this fall and winter.

  • National Public Lands Day - Sept. 28, 2013
  • 24th Annual "Ding" Darling Days - Oct. 20-26, 2013
  • Kids Fishing Derby - Nov. 9, 2013
  • Ladies-Only Holiday Shopping Happy Hour - Dec. 3, 2013
  • Volunteer Holiday Luncheon - Dec. 13, 2013
  • Men-Only Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Happy Hour - Dec. 23, 2013
  • Winter Refuge Programs - Jan. 5-April 20, 2014
  • Bi-Weekly Wednesday Film Series - Jan. 8-April 16, 2014
  • Weekly Friday Lecture Series - Jan. 17-April 11, 2014
  • Second Annual Trailgate Party - Feb. 21, 2014
  • Stokes Birding Tour - Feb. 28, 2014
  • Volunteer Awards Luncheon- Feb. 28, 2014