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Ding Darling Refuge Birds & Garlic Scallops with Spinach

January 26, 2012

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DH & I biked the 13 miles to the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. We were fortunate that a local garden club had requested the best guide & we boarded the tram for a tour.

Birds & more birds everywhere in the shallows since the tide was out.

Tri color Heron
Our first almost close-up was theTri-colored Heron.

Cormorants were sunning themselves after the 48-degree night.

DH s Cormorant

Sunning Cormorant

We caught a glimpse of pink & instantly thought Flamingos! Nope. Roseate Spoonbills, which are native to southern Florida. They were everywhere! Beautiful pink feathers. Fascinating flat bills.

DH s Roseates

The North American bird with the wingspan second only to the California Condor was present – White Pelican. They looked like swans paddling along the shallows. Their near-relative the brown pelican is not as large. The Whites dive into the water to stun the fish which they then scoop into their pouched bill. Browns are not as dense & can knock themselves out, an often do, if they do not change their impact trajectory when diving. They learn this early or they don’t survive.

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The Greater Egrets were hunting en-masse, there were dozens in a small rivulet beating their wings on the water, driving fish into a circle. Then they fed.

“Heron” & “Egret” are terms used interchangeably often. Their are differences.

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The Black-crowned Night Heron was still out as we continued through the Refuge. He is a lone hunter because the other birds don’t like him. He will eat them, their young, their eggs. He is not a bird who lives well with his neighbors so the others avoid him.

Night Heron

The majority of birds cooperate as the carnivores they are in hunting & sharing space. They have different techniques & take advantage of each other’s particular skill when hunting.

Ding birds

Garlic Scallops with Spinach

Seafood is so easy, so fast to prepare, it’s a fabulous choice for dinner!


  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • Sea Salt & Pepper
  • 1 pound Bay Scallops
  • 6 cups Baby Spinach


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, 2 Tb. olive oil, garlic & water.
  2. Toss spinach in dressing & set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil & butter in a skillet over a medium high heat.
  4. Add scallops & cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Do not over cook!
  5. Salt & pepper to taste.
  6. Evenly distribute spinach among four plates, top with scallops & pan juices.
  7. Drizzle any remaining dressing over the top.


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