Thursday, February 25, 2010

Corkscrew Swamp!! Put this one on your "must visit list!"

Corkscrew Swamp, 25 miles east of Fort Meyers Fl. is an amazing place to visit! (we actually went twice!) This swamp shares sights and vistas that will thrill everyone in your family.
The Swamp was once a part of a timber package that was to be leveled for its wonderful cypress trees. However, a group of conservationists were able to persuade the owners to lease the acreage and allow it to become an area where one could enjoy the flora and the wildlife. There's more to this story but that is the short and sweet part of it!! The boardwalk, allows one to roam selected acreage and seek out all that live, visit and nest there! The walk is about 2 1/2 miles but there is also an option of a 1 mile walk.
We were thrilled with all the species of birds we saw. Our first encounter was with the Brown-headed, White-breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatches (all in one tree!) Eight different species of Warblers, Flycatchers, Gnatcatchers, Ibis, Herons and even this "lovely couple" of Black Vultures!

and of course, it's have to see a gator or two or three!
but then there was this large sign to remind you to look down.. as much as you want to look up! BUT just so you know.. We visited twice in two weeks and did not see one little ole snake!
Entertainment came in many forms. We loved watching this fox squirrel...hamming it up for the cameras BUT I have to say the jewel of the whole trip was....
this little male Painted Bunting..OMGoodness he was a feast of color! The lady standing next to me whispered, "I have been waiting 6 years to see a Painted Bunting!" That made me feel pretty darn lucky!

..and then, just for her, I'm sure of it, there were two male Painted Buntings! What gorgeous birds!!
..and then when you think it couldn't get any better..the Mrs. flies in to take her place next to her gorgeous mate!! She poses as if she knows everyone has a camera.. First, a tilt of the head for a little side view.
or maybe you want this pose!! So nice!!
and not far along on the board walk we are awed by this Barred Owl! He was just waking up as we were tip-toeing past!
We were lucky to see many species of woodpeckers, many Red-Shouldered Hawks, raccoons, otters, deer, large Red-Bellied name it!! By mid-morning everyone was out and about and I thought this gentlemen was just pushing a toddler in this stroller... but when I looked down I had to laugh...sorry, it is a little blurry.. it was one of those walk-on-by-and-take-a-quick-pix!! I didn't want him to know I was taking a picture of his most prize possession..but I can see why you would want to push this monster and not have to carry it. Jeeze, now that's a lens!! Corkscrew is definitely a photographers dream walk. I would suggest you put it on your list to visit if you ever head to this part of Florida! You won't be disappointed!!

I also wanted to share another major find for us...A gorgeous Crested Caracara. He wasn't found at Corkscrew Swamp but on a lonely road known as Route 832 north of Corkscrew. We specifically traveled to this road to look for the Caracara and were rewarded during our second visit! We only saw one but he was close to the road and didn't seem to mind us watching him!!


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Where do I start?
Every photo was amazing-
The Painted Buntings? WOW!
Love the camera stroller. Good idea to take the wieght off.
What a wonderful trip.

Of course I loved the vultures!

jalynn01 said...

I want to pack and go to FL right now! What a wonderful place and just packed full of beautiful creatures. I love the Buntings.. How great them posing for you. Excitement would have over taken me I think.. Never saw a Caracara..never heard of it actually but how interesting it looks. Lucky you!! Get me out of this snow and take me to FL....

Have a great week end..Tina.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi Tina, Love your new blog look... Seems you found a fabulous birding place in FL.... Wow---those pictures are fabulous... My fav's are the Painted Buntings... Beautiful birds...

We've had a great week in Arkansas... Great weather and of course, lots of pictures.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I can see that this place would be on the 'have to see' list if I ever get to that area.
All I need is a lens like that as well. :)

Gail said...

Ah, gee, do I have to pick a favorite? They are all so equally stunning and colorful and just right there, like you could reach out and touch them.

I must admit I enlarged the snake sign because I just knew that rock was a snake head peeking out.

Kelly said...

....loved the painted buntings and the Crested Caracara. That is a life bird for me. You caught some beautiful photos, and I laughed when I saw the monster lens in the stroller--it's a good idea. I'm heading to Sarasota next month. I hope I can find a Crested Caracara!

Neal said...

Oh Tina, those are so beautiful. I can't pick a favorite because there are so many that I like. I hope everything is going well with you!!

Janice K said...

Tina, what a great post! It was like those beautiful birds were all just waiting for you to stop by.....besides the fact that it looked warm and inviting. We had more snow again last night...I'm hoping for Spring any day now!

NCmountainwoman said...

I've spent so many hours at Ding Darling, but never even heard of Corkscrew Swamp. I'll be sure to go next time we're down there. Great photographs.

FAB said... it's my turn to enjoy a stroll with you in totally differnt surroundings. Those Painted Buntings look so exotic. Thanks for sharing the Crested Caracaca, it's a bird I saw in Florida but never captured. FAB.

troutbirder said...

Oh my. What wonderful pictures Tina. The problem is you keep putting more ideas in my head for places to visit AND I don't think 8 days is going to be near enough. Well there is always next year! :)

Dawn Fine said...

Oh..I love Corkscrew swamp! glad you went there!
Great birds!!
LOve Painted buntings!!!!
And a Caracara!!

Peggy said...

Wow Tina! I'm in such awe! As you know, I went to Corkscrew in September. I saw very little...Looking at what you saw!!!!I'm speechless! Wish I had gone at the right season. Fantastic!

Tina said...

Thanks everyone for your comments! I had asked other Pa. birders where to visit when visiting the gulf area and I received so many suggestions about Cork Screw...we just had to go. I had never heard of the Crested Caracara until I was told about it from a birder friend..quite a site!
We lucked out with our visits...the end of Jan is a very busy time for all the birds in Fl.finding that mate, building nests and mating..we just happen to visit at a good time!
Glad you visited and shared your comments. It's always nice to hear from friends!

Tootie said...

This is a place we haven't been to. After looking at your photos, I think it's a must see....soon. :)

Eve said...

Wow Tina!!!!!!!!!!
Someday, I want to go here! Thanks for giving us all a great preview to the real thing!
I guess I need one of those snake signs. I'll put it in my driveway!!

Barbie ♥ said...

Oh Tina - what GREAT pictures you got while vacationing! I bet you hated to come home just like I hated to ;-)
Your Black Vulture shot is just gorgeous - and then there is the PAIR of PAINTED BUNTINGS -WOWOWOWWEEE!!!!
And an OWL - and red-shouldered hawks and ospreys and little blues and big blue herons - you did a magnificent job! One of the pictures I loved was the shells on the beach - that was a neat idea and really gave the feel of what it is like to be there on the island!

would like to hear your thoughts..