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10/14/12
A visit to Corkscrew Swamp
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Florida & SE US, Birding "Patches", Wild Bird Wednesday, Bird D'pot
Posted by: Ken @ 4:37 am

With a couple of other birders from South Florida Audubon, I visited Corkscrew Swamp east of Naples. This Audubon sanctuary is a marvelous place. If you can read the sign below, it shows the habitat features traversed by more than two miles of boardwalk trails.

Since fall migration is in progress, we rather expected to be treated to many warblers. For some reason this did not happen. There were several warblers, but all were high in the trees, deep in the shadows, or back-lighted by the sky. It was an enjoyable trip, despite the heat and humidity.

Entrance sign (click image to enlarge).

Corkscrew Swamp sign2 20120131

This section of the boardwalk meanders through a Pond Cypress stand.

Corkscrew Swamp boardwalk HDR 20120930

The Pond Cypress swamp looked promising, but we found relatively few birds.

Pond Cypress HDR 20120930

A Pileated Woodpecker foraged near the entrance. Good views of this species are almost guaranteed on any visit to Corkscrew Swamp.

Pileated Woodpecker 20120930

Great Crested Flycatchers were numerous.

Great Crested Flycatcher 20120930

Tufted Titmouse were calling everywhere.

Tufted Titmouse 20120930

A Carolina Wren was going the other way, but this was the best I could do.

Carolina Wren 20120930

A light morph Short-tailed Hawk flew over, but it was impossible to get a photo through the intervening branches. This Red-shouldered Hawk, seen from the viewing platform in the open Central Marsh area was more cooperative.

Red-shouldered Hawk 20120930

Because of the high water that disperses aquatic prey, waders were few and far between. This Little Blue Heron is the only heron we saw within the preserve, though many were out in nearby retention ponds.

Little Blue Heron 20120930

A Green Tree Frog clung to a  plant stem.

Green Tree Frog 2-20120930

I believe this is a Florida Red-bellied Turtle, but I welcome confirmation of the species.

Florida Red-bellied Turtle 20120930

A Swamp Lily almost seems to glow in the shade of the cypress trees.

Swamp Lily 2-20120930

A highlight of the walk was seeing two rare orchid species in bloom.

The Clamshell Orchid is quite rare in the Everglades, as it has very demanding habitat requirements. Florida can have cold snaps, and the water in Corkscrew Swamp holds onto the heat and protects tender vegetation. However, this orchid ranges in the tropics from Mexico to Brazil and is common in many orchid collections.

Clamshell Orchid 2-20120930

The Ghost Orchid is so called because it lacks leaves, yet from some angles its flower resembles Casper the Ghost. The plant consists only of a spider-like root system that clings to the bark of trees, and flowers that boom infrequently. It grows only under very hot conditions. It is very rare in the wild, and only two specimens are visible from the boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp.

Ghost Orchid 2-20120930

The second Ghost Orchid had just finished blooming only two days previously. Here is its root system and the dried-up remains of a single flower. The orchid is not a parasite, but an epiphyte that dwells on the tree and derives no nourishment from its host.

Ghost Orchid dormant 20120930

Despite the lack of birds, we found many other photographic subjects, including this poisonous White-marked Tussock Moth. Its hairs can cause a nasty painful rash.

White-marked Tussock Moth 20120930

I could not identify the species of this orb weaver, but it has rather distinctive dorsal abdominal markings.

Orb weaver ID? 20120930

18 Responses to “A visit to Corkscrew Swamp”

  1. Carole M. Says:
    A lovely walkway and location; great shot of the Pileated Woodpecker and Great Crested Flycatcher And I loved the little Ghost Orchid; what a lovely find.
  2. dawn Fine Says:
    I love that place! Very cool photos of the Tussock moth and the orb weaver.
  3. Hanne Bente Says:
    Beautiful photo series showing Ken - many of these beautiful birds we do not have in this country …. maybe they have some of these species in the zoo - or Randers Rainforest (a zoo with exotic animals / birds) PS! Thanks for your comment on my blog. Wish you a good day / good week. Hanne Bente
  4. Adam Jones Says:
    Really like the Little Blue Heron, but all great captures.
  5. Brian King Says:
    Gorgeous shots! I’ve never been able to photograph a Pileated Woodpecker. I love the Little Blue Heron!
  6. TexWisGirl Says:
    gorgeous shot of the little blue and the pileated! beautiful!
  7. Kathiesbirds Says:
    What a wonderful walk! I love the pileated woodpecker, of course and the orchids are magnificent! What a nice day you had there! I have only been here once and I remeber it as the place i saw my first purple gallinule and where I first identified a blue-gray gnatcatcher! It’s a great place and what a wonderful post!
  8. Mick Says:
    Beautiful photos. The Pond Cypress Swamp is magnificent. I always hoped to see Cypress swamps (while I was in the USA) but unfortunately never had the chance to travel east to where I would see them.
  9. Eileen Says:
    Wow, cool post! Loved all your birds. The Blue Heron and the Pileated are my favorites. Great shots!
  10. Neil Says:
    Beautiful walk through the Swamp.
  11. Phil (@anotherbirdblog) Says:
    Sometimes those little warblers just don’t cooperate as we would like, but looking at that boardwalk route there’s lots of places for them to hide. Fabulous Pileated shot and some interesting plants too.
  12. Stewart M Says:
    The woodpecker is my favourite - but then I biased towards these birds. I have managed to see them in the wild - what a great bird. Thanks for linking to WBW Stewart M - Australia
  13. Mary Howell Cromer Says:
    All of these are great image shares, loved several and you did a really fine job~
  14. Crafty Gardener Says:
    wonderful series of photos, I shared a pileated woodpecker that visited our garden a couple of weeks ago, we had never had one in the garden before
  15. DeniseinVA Says:
    All marvelous photos. Absolutely lovely!
  16. Pat Says:
    Lovely shots of the denizens of the swamp.
  17. Julie G. Says:
    Thank you for taking us along on your adventure to Corkscrew Swamp. I really need to visit this area next time I’m on the west coast of Florida. Gorgeous photographs! Oh how I would love to get a close-up look of a Pileated Woodpecker. They are so very elusive on our country property. A joy to visit your wonderful blog!
  18. Ken Says:
    Thank you all for visiting and sharing your comments!

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