Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a jewel, owned and operated by the Audubon Society in eastern Collier County. The lands were acquired at the time to save the last stand of ancient bald cypress as well as preserve an important nesting rookery for the endangered wood stork.
Currently the storks are away, but nesting should began, as long as conditions are favorable, around January. But another treasure is to be found here in one of the rarest orchids to be found in Florida. The Ghost Orchid.
On my visit the orchid was in bloom. A single blossom. When the plant was first discovered, here at Corkscrew a few years ago, people were coming here from all over the US and abroad to see this rare plant. This rare species was also the subject of a non-fiction book called 'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean. The book was later is adopted in Meryl Streep's film Adaptation (2002).
My visit was not to see the orchid but to see what birds could be found. Warblers, vireos and buntings were my targets on the day. Also Yellow-billed Cuckoos were being reported. The water level was to high for there to be a lot of wading birds. But I was more interesed in the little birds.
|Red-Shouldered Hawks are common here|
Started out about 8:30 in the morning and spent some time waiting on any hummingbirds at the gardens at the front of Blair House. But none appeared as I watched. So onto the boardwalk. First checked the feeders at the back porch for painted buntings. No buntings at this time. Then checking for brown-headed nuthatches in the pines at the start of the boardwalk. But not on this day. Did find several Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers though. The days most common bird. Several Gray Catbirds were also heard. The first of several Red-Shouldered Hawks was seen.
The beginning of the walk was frustrating as so many birds could be heard, but not seen. Especially Common Yellowthroats. But at about half way things improved when Yellow-billed Cuckoo flew into a small tree within a few feet of the boardwalk. Following this, were a couple of mixed feeding flocks featuring more gnatcatchers and Tufted Titmice. A pair of Great Crested Flycatchers were active and was able to add five more warblers imcluding Palm, Prairie, Black-and-White, Northern Parula and Pine Warblers. Also found White-Eyed and Blue-Headed Vireos.
|A huge Alligator basking in the morning sun|
At the Lettuce Lakes was found a pair of Anhingas resting in the trees, plus a sleeping Black-Crowned Nightheron. Also here was a huge alligator basking in the sun on a island on the lake. It was disappointing to miss the buntings and hummingbirds, but the cuckoo made up for it. A family of three Sandhill Cranes was also seen along Immokolee Road just prior to the turn onto to Sanctuary Road on the way into Corkscrew Swamp.My List - (28)
Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Turkey Vulture, Red-shouldered Hawk, Sandhill Crane, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, Tree Swallow, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird, Northern Parula, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Palm Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Cardinal, Boat-tailed Grackle