Long-Tailed Duck Landing: A page from Crossley’s waterfowl guide
Long-Tailed Duck Landing: A page from Crossley’s waterfowl guide

While working on The Crossley ID Guide: Waterfowl, Richard Crossley decided he needed to drive to the Arctic Ocean in northern Alaska from his home in Cape May, N.J. In his thick Yorkshire accent, with a sense of humor and a disdain for political correctness, Crossley will talk about his 16,000-mile adventure on Friday, Feb. 1, during two free programs at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., part of the 2019 lecture series at J.N. “Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.

Crossley is an internationally acclaimed birder, photographer, and award-winning author of “The Crossley ID Guide” series. The Yorkshireman also lived in Japan and travelled the world before settling down in Cape May.

“After one of my frequent midlife crises at the turn of the millennium, I decided it was time to spend less time obsessively birding and to focus on paying back,” says Crossley. “Sometimes called ‘crazy’ -- my badge of honor -- wildly passionate, and driven, I have made concerted forays into youth birding, television, books, and other areas where I feel there is a need for American birding and conservation to improve.”

Crossley’s latest, Waterfowl, continues to push boundaries and encourage all outdoor conservation groups to see each other as one. He also co-founded the global birding initiative Pledge to Fledge, Race4Birds (www.race4birds.org,), and The Cape May Young Birders Club. Crossley served on the board of directors at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. He has contributed to most major birding publications, frequently speaks on radio, and is a sought-after public speaker.

For his “Ding” Darling lectures, the author will show about 100 of his own images and chat about the incredible places he has traveled and the inspiring people he met who changed his thoughts.

Crossley will sign copies of his books, available in the Refuge Nature Store, following the two lectures. Profits from Nature Store sales directly benefit refuge wildlife, education, and research.

HighTower/Thomas & Swartz Wealth Management sponsors the 11-lecture series with support from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS). The free lectures are held twice each Friday (except Feb. 8) through April 12 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The season’s remaining schedule is listed below. Book signings follow all starred (*) lectures.

Lectures take place in the admission-free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center.  Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Early arrivals can save their seat and one extra with personal items and then can explore the Visitor & Education Center or Indigo Trail before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time or they will be assigned to the next people waiting in line. For this popular speaker, visitors are urged to arrive at least an hour early.

As usual, Wildlife Drive closes on Friday, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the Visitor & Education Center, Indigo Trail, and recreational opportunities at Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s official recreation concession located at its Tarpon Bay Recreation Area.

Note: Opinions expressed in guest lectures do not necessarily reflect the views of refuge and DDWS management, staff, and board of directors.

For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 241 or log on to www.dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-and-film-series.

*Feb. 1 – Author/photographer Richard Crossley, The Crossley ID Guides: Waterfowl

Feb. 8 – NO LECTURE

*Feb. 15 - Author Paul Bannick, Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls,

*Feb. 22 - Author Anurag Agrawal, Monarchs and Milkweed:  A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution

*March 1 – Author Warner Shedd, Owls Aren't Wise & Bats Aren't Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies about Wildlife

March 8 – Yve Morrell, “The Big Year: A First for Women” 

March 15 – Jeremy Conrad, “Sea Level Rise: Globally & Locally”

March 22 – Dusty “Wildman” Crum, Robbie & Geoff Roepstorff, Mike Kirkland, “Pythons: The Hunters, the Science

March 29 – Marine scientist Lauren Blickley, "Drastic Plastic - Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution"

April 5 – Ornithologist Dr. Jerry Lorenz, “Flamingos & Spoonbills: Pink Canaries in a Coal Mine”

*April 12 – Author Denege Patterson, “Five Islands Never Flooded: A Tour of the Islands of Pine Island Sound, Florida”

*starred lecture indicates book signing to follow