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02/19/12
A visit to Corkscrew Swamp
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Florida & SE US, Birding "Patches"
Posted by: Ken @ 7:49 am

From our south Florida home, it’s an enjoyable two hour drive to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, just east of Naples. Located in the western Everglades, and administered by the Audubon Society, Corkscrew’s 14,000 acres include a variety of habitats, including 700 acres of virgin Bald Cypress, the largest remaining stand in the world. The old-growth cypresses have been host to the largest breeding colony of Wood Storks in the US.

However, the storks have done poorly the past several years since 2006, when there were 600 nesting pairs. In 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011 there were none. The exception was 2009, when there were 1120 nesting pairs. Sadly, the storks failed to nest again this year. An interpreter pointed out a long line of tall cypress trees on the horizon, which, at this time of year would normally have been white with nesting and roosting storks. We saw not a single one. I discussed the problem in an earlier post “Struggling Storks.”  Visit this link for updated information about the Wood Stork at Corkscrew Swamp.

A 2 1/4 mile Boardwalk winds across pine woodlands, a wet prairie and through a stand of Pond Cypress.

Corkscrew Swamp boardwalk 20120131

At any time of year, a visitor can expect to see Pileated Woodpeckers.

Pileated Woodpecker 3-2008_12_04

We got breathtaking views of Red-shouldered hawks.

Red-shouldered hawk 3-20120131

A pair were engaged in courtship above the boardwalk.

Red-shouldered hawks courtship 20120131

The onset of spring migration of land birds is still a month away, so there were only a few warbler species– Yellow-rumped, parula, Yellow-throated, and Pine Warblers.

Northern Parulas foraged high up in the trees.

Northern Parula 20120131

Pine Warblers were abundant.

Pine Warbler 3-20120131

I accidentally caught this Pine Warbler as it flew from its perch.

Pine Warbler 20120131

We saw two Black-and-white Warblers.

Black-and-white Warbler 20120131

Tufted Titmice were vociferous.

Tufted Titmouse 20120131

There were quite a few Great Crested Flycatchers.

Great Crested Flycatcher 3-20120131

White-eyed Vireos were present but elusive. Last March, this one posed along the boardwalk.

White-eyed Vireo 20110313

The light was poor in the understory, so this photo of a Summer Tanager came out badly.

Summer Tanager 20120131

A male Carolina Wren sang loudly, accompanied by the softer twitter of a female. The angle of this photo of the male demonstrates the white back spots that are not always very evident, as they are normally covered by the wings.

Carolina Wren 2-20120131

A male Anhinga was decked out in breeding colors– plumes and green “goggles.”

Anhinga 2-20120131

A Little Blue Heron’s head swayed back and forth, helping it judge the distance of an underwater prey item.

Little Blue Heron 20120131

A Great Blue Heron was so close that this is all I could fit into the viewfinder (I did capture the entire mosquito on its chin).

Great Blue Heron 20120131

Wintering Painted Buntings are reliably present at the feeders in Corkscrew Swamp, but we missed them by a few minutes this time. We waited almost a half hour for their return, but the only visitor to the feeders was a pregnant Big Cypress Fox Squirrel, classified as a Threatened species. She filled up on seed and just fell asleep on the branch next to the feeder, her legs hanging limp.

Sleepy and pregnant squirrel 20120131

Other non-avian subjects included this Common Cooter…

Slider 20120131

…a Swamp Lily…

Swamp Lily 20120131

…and a Cardinal Air Plant.

Cardinal Air Plant 20120131

16 Responses to “A visit to Corkscrew Swamp”

  1. Laurence Butler Says:
    Simply stunning photography Ken, well done! I enjoyed your narration as well. You talented Florida bloggers and photographers are giving me some serious Florida envy in these winter months. It’s always a pleasure and I look forward to your posts.
  2. TexWisGirl Says:
    wow! what a great variety of wildlife and birds! laughed at the squirrel! you have some gorgeous warblers and songbirds we don’t get here. totally enjoyed your red-shoulders!
  3. nature rambles Says:
    What an amazing variety of birds!! A real treat to see other creatures included in your post. Lovely shots of the blooms too!
  4. Boom & Gary Says:
    Beautiful series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.
  5. Øyvind Says:
    Nice shots! Makes me look forward to spring time!
  6. Andrew Says:
    Wow ! Ken beautiful images of all your wonderful wildlife… I would love to have a walk around this stunning place..
  7. Mick Says:
    Another great place to visit complete with beautiful birds and lazy squirrels! I like the look of the board walk. That’s the next project our local group wants to tackle here - a board walk across some salt marsh and a bird hide at the end of it!
  8. joo Says:
    What a great post again! All the photos are superb.
  9. Eileen Says:
    Really cool birds and shots, Ken! I love the Pileated and the Anhinga and the two hawks together is a great sighting. The warblers are so pretty. I can not wait for spring to start seeing the warblers arriving. Great post and awesome photos.
  10. holdingmoments Says:
    Fantastic selection Ken. That first hawk shot is a stunner.
  11. springman Says:
    Remarkable. The Carolina wren shot is beyond great, maybe the most interesting I’ve ever seen. The Red shouldered hawk is so perfectly taken, color, focus, and composition all aces. I’m crazy for the Anhinga too. And on and on. Another great masters class here Ken!
  12. Modesto Viegas Says:
    Great series!
  13. Crafty Gardener Says:
    Lovely photos, especially the hawk.
  14. Pat Says:
    What a wonderful post! I like that boardwalk trail. What a great variety of wildlife you captured so beautifully in your lens.
  15. Stewart M - Australia Says:
    What a great set of pictures - the close up of the heron is wonderful - did you see the mosquito before or after you pressed the shutter release! Cheers - Stewart M - Australia
  16. Mary Howell Cromer Says:
    All are great!

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