Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Corkscrew Swamp

Black-and-white Warbler
In my penultimate post from Florida, I take you on a journey through the gorgeous Corkscrew Swamp south of Ft. Myers. 

As with everything on this Florida trip, my time was limited.  This is definitely a place I need to visit again.  I kind of knew this would happen so I tried my hardest to observe as much as I could.  And at my best, I only scratched the surface. 

There's a beautiful boardwalk that is surrounded by epic vegetation.  The further one gets into the swamp; the more there is to see.  For wildlife aficionados, this is well worth the hefty 12 dollar fee(covers two days).  For Audubon members, it's only 6 dollars. 

Great Egret in breeding plumage
I knew the birds calling but I didn't count them in my records as I wasn't able to get any observations of them. Plus several would have been life birds for me. My rule is that I have to get a decent observation of the life bird before I can count them....even if I know their calls. I do make notations in my logs that I did hear the birds. Several that sneaked(snuck) past me visually were the Carolina Wrens, Painted and Indigo Buntings and many many more. So I did the best I could.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Sometimes there was "bird overload".  Or too many birds flying around me. I couldn't get my eyes on them quick enough before they flew off.  There were rumors of birds seen in the park.  There were records of birds seen in the park.  But the question was, "Could I find them?" 

I did hit my targets and then some.  Plus I really had great observations of nesting Anhingas, Red-shouldered Hawks, Barred Owls, Warblers and a Purple Gallinule.

It was incredibly overwhelming.  I had the biggest adrenaline rush that day as I was able to watch roosting Wood Storks from a scope on the observation tower.  

Red-shouldered Hawk
And then, there was a Purple Gallinule!  I hadn't seen one of these colorful numbers since my trip to Panama!  My friend Sydney was great at spotting the birds.  She pointed this beauty out to me from the boardwalk as we watched it search for food from the still water. 

Juvenile Purple Gallinule
And probably the greatest gift of the day was an observation of this parent Barred Owl preening its feathers on an open branch. 
Barred Owl
I sat by the feeders eagerly awaiting the Painted Buntings at the Audubon center while my friend Sydney crashed on their couch.  They never did show up, but it was okay. We had an incredible day out in the field that I won't forget anytime soon.  If you are interested in the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp, click here.
Next week, we explore Bunche Beach.  Until next time.... 
I'm linking today with Wild Bird Wednesday where I'm constantly discovering new birds around our world!


  1. It looks a good place but it also looks hot.

  2. Wonderful discoveries. Perfect camouflage for this owl on the branch.
    You will be so well prepared for your next visit to Florida!

  3. You had a really exciting trip Chris and got some stunning photos!

  4. Incedible indeed!

    Great photos Chris. Corkscrew is such a wonderful place and teeming with wonderful birds.
    I was there last year in May and the Wood Storks were all gone, never found a Barred Owl either.

    It's always a mixed bag : )

  5. Thanks Laurence. I wish I had a lot more time in Florida. Just way too much to see.....no Limpkins, American Flamingos, etc etc. It will require several trips I think:)

  6. Looks like you saw quite a bit on your 'fast' travels through the area... Love the OWL...

    The good news about visiting places is that you CAN go back. We return to many favorite places and see something new and different every single time...


  7. You were still able to see so much! I love the owl.

  8. I loved the bird photos! The red-shouldered Hawk looks fierce. :)

  9. I know just what you mean when you posted about an adrenaline rush!! Yep....been there too.

    Fabulous images. When we went birding today, we hoped to see our 'resident' gators but I guess it was a bit chilly for them...had a cold snap here last night.

    LOVE the owl mostly.

  10. What a wonderful roundup of swamp critters!

  11. Chris, Corkscrew was one of my favorite places to bird in Florida! There were birds around every corner.. Great shots, love the owl. Have a happy week!

  12. Some brilliant birds, of course we all adore the Owls, brilliant shot.

  13. Good thing there's a boardwalk or you'd have to wear waders and carry a machete. I saw a cousin to the Anhinga in South Africa, they call it a Darter. The Owl is most awesome, as is the shot.


  14. Chris, what great pictures! What an adventure! I don't have to tell you that I wish I had been with you! I am so glad you got to visit this place, though. too bad I did not make it there! I want to go back also! Yes, this day was EPIC!!!!

  15. Brilliant bird shot. Looks lie a great place.

  16. What an awesome place! I've been to Florida a few times but never to this swamp. I'm not a birder but being surrounded by so many birds would still be fabulous. :o)

  17. what an experience you and your friend had sounds like great fun... so many beautiful birds you've seen and shared here... i think my favorite was the great egret and barred owl... have a great day~

  18. Usually when there's so much vegetation I have a hard time getting a good look at the birds so this place must be fantastic! Love the owl and egret shots!

  19. Gosh!!! :) What an amazing place - so much to explore and see :) Great photos - I really like the Barred Owl and Red-bellied Woodpecker. I do love sharing the wonderful experiences you have :)

  20. Absolutely beautiful photos.

  21. Great set of pictures - sometimes (but not often!) there can be too many birds!

    I think there are 61 different species of heron!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  22. My goodness Chris when do you find time to sleep, let alone work? It looks as though you had a fantastic time in Florida.

  23. Wow, that place looks amaze-balls! Thanks for sharing your birding experiences in Florida. That owl shot is fantastic. Not many sightings can match the wonder of being in the presence of an owl.

  24. I know you are thoroughly excited about this trip. Wow! What success you had with finding different birds and identifying them. We used to live in Florida, up in the panhandle, between Pensacola and Panama City. We enjoyed boardwalk areas and beach eco systems while we were there. This one looks particularly awesome! Stiff price, but I assume you felt it was worth it! :-) Great photos!


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