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Birding ‘Tween Waters Inn and the Islands

I didn’t need to go any farther than the marina at ‘Tween Waters Inn Beach Resort & Spa to photograph some of the most charismatic in the bird kingdom. Like resort mascots, a great egret and great blue heron strutted the docks and posed waterside. Pelicans stumped pilings, dive-bombing for fish they spied from their lofty perches. Within eyeshot, a pair of ospreys tended a nest atop a piling platform. I couldn’t quite make out if there were chicks yet, but this is the time of year they hatch. Next time I’ll bring binoculars.

Nearly 450 species of birds have been identified on Captiva and Sanibel islands, including the rare flamingo, great white pelican, and white-crowned pigeon that birders spotted  recently at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel. One of the nation’s hottest birding spots, especially this time of year, “Ding” is more famous for its pretty-in-pink roseate spoonbills. They and other iconic species – reddish egrets, yellow-crowned night herons, pelicans – are easy to spot from Wildlife Drive. Even better, take a sunset paddle or boat cruise at Tarpon Bay to watch birds flock in to roost.

The refuge is part of the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail, as is Lighthouse Beach Park at Sanibel’s eastern end. Birders flock there particularly in fall and spring to witness a phenomenon known as “fall-out” – when migrating birds literally drop from the sky, exhausted from a long flight over water. Before you head out on your birding adventure, grab a laminated “Sanibel & Captiva Birds” flipchart from the T.H. Osprey Gift Shop.

White pelicans flock to “Ding” Darling this time of year.
The ‘Tween Waters Marina great blue heron preens.
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‘Tween Waters Inn Hosts a Roast and First Annual Funtastic Fourth Fishing Derby

Fishing at 'Tween Waters InnSpend Independence Day honoring tradition and starting a few new traditions of your own at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort.  Fourth of July at ‘Tween Waters Inn is a fun-filled day, starting with the First Annual Funtastic Fourth Fishing Derby — a half-day tournament free to all guests with Fourth of July reservations for three or more nights. After a fish-filled day with your family, enjoy a mouth-watering Island Tradition: a Captiva Island Luau Roast, replete with slow roasted pig.

The fishing tournament will begin at 8 a.m., and is free and fun for all ages, with a three-day reservation or more. Complete the Fourth of July evening with the all-you-can-eat Captiva Island Luau Roast, from 5 to 9 p.m. Both the fishing tournament and luau are free to guests staying three or more nights (limit of 2, children under 12 eat free). Visitors are encouraged to dig in, despite staying the night or three, for only $17.95 per person.

The recently renovated Crow’s Nest at ‘Tween Waters Inn will “host the roast” so join in the fun and sample the delicious menu items including: slow roasted suckling pig, coleslaw, corn on the cob, baked beans, a basket of swamp cabbage fritters, and Key lime tarts. These tasty items partner perfect with “two for one” draft beer.  The regular menu will also be available.

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