Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Painted Buntings at Corckscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Sunday, January 29th
Painted Buntings at feeder located at the Blair House

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is located in eastern Collier County and is owned and operated by the National Audubon Society.  The sanctuary is home to one of the oldest stand of bald cypress trees left in the U.S. These trees, some several hundred years old, were barely saved from the loggers' axe.  It is a Jewel.
Besides the famed Wood Stork breeding colonies located here in the winter, it also hosts at least one of the few rare Ghost Orchids found in Florida.

Spent a couple of hours today walking the boardwalk. The feeders at the Blair House and at the Bunting House each hosted a pair of Painted Buntings. The Bunting House feeders also is home to a wintering Ovenbird.  Other sightings included a pair of Anhingas in a noisy altercation. Don't know what their problems were. Several Red-shouldered Hawks were active. One was busy consuming a snake and another pair were being very amorous. Had a few warblers, like Black-and White, Palm, Common Yellowthroat and Northern Parula.  Lots of Gray Catbirds and a Barred Owl, White-eyed Vireo and Carolina Wrens were heard. A light-phased short-tailed hawk was seen by several people, but was a miss for me. Other birds included Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Wood Stork, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker and Northern Cardinal.

An unusual visitor to the Blair House was a Rafinesque's Long-eared Bat sleeping near the outside rest rooms.  This is an uncommon bat and an excellent finish to my visit.  Earlier in the day I counted at least eighty Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at a pond on Immokalee Road east of Sanctuary Road.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Gray Catbird

Common Yellowthroat

Red-shouldered Hawk eating a freshly caught snake

Water Moccasin

Rafinesque's Long-eared Bat

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