A Travellerspoint blog

Day 2: Corkscrew Swamp & Environs

SW Florida

sunny 81 °F

Today, thanks to my mom and dad, was one of my favorite mornings of birding of my entire life! The three of us birded Corkscrew Swamp’s famous 2.5 - mile boardwalk through a thousand-year-old bald cypress swamp and pine forest. The wildlife was STUPENDOUS! My target bird for the preserve was Brown-headed Nuthatch, a diminutive and uncommon passerine species which inhabits pine habitats of the southeast.

We arrived just before 6:45am to make the most of the early morning, and boy were we glad we did — the sightings were absolutely thrilling from the start with this female PILEATED WOODPECKER:
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We were joined by a wonderful birder named John who delighted our presence with both his expertise and his cheer.

PALM WARBLER:
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Then, we monitored the feeders at the visitor center for PAINTED BUNTINGS, and within a minute, five of these beautifully-colored songbirds had shown up! What an absolute dream!
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The female was understated but also beautiful:
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Then, a mixed flock of warblers moved into the nearby pine trees and among the more common species I picked out this YELLOW-THROATED WARBLER:
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GREAT CRESTED FLYCATCHER:
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DOWNY WOODPECKER:
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Then, I heard what sounded like a squeaky toy and sure enough, my life bird BROWN-HEADED NUTHATCH came into view — life bird!!!!!
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This spider’s web alongside the trail was neat — to reiterate, there was just SO much wildlife to see at the preserve it was unbelievable.
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Male NORTHERN CARDINAL, common but beautiful:
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OVENBIRD:
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Some flyover WHITE IBIS:
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This beautiful GREAT EGRET perched in a tree alongside the trail:
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BLUE-HEADED VIREO was nice:
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RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET:
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NORTHERN PARULAE such as this individual were conspicuously abundant — we may very well have heard over one hundred this morning!
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Brown Anole:
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We then came to a platform overlooking a shrubby, marshy area and saw very interesting things including this LIMPKIN, a denizen of southeastern marshes:
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GREEN HERON:
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ANHINGA:
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COMMON GALLINULE:
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WHITE-EYED VIREOS such as this one were present throughout the walk:
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CAROLINA WREN:
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A number of SWALLOW-TAILED KITES appeared to be migrating today:
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A highlight of the walk was this River Otter:
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Bromeliad plant:
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Shadow of a Green Tree Frog:
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Beautiful flowers:
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WOOD STORK:
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BLACK VULTURE:
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At one point I caught this Green Anole (and released it after the photo!):
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A number of alligators were seen today, including both juveniles and adults:
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American Bullfrog:
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Then, a kindly ranger stopped us to point out the nesting cavity of a Pileated Woodpecker:
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And then the female came out:
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Then, we happened upon a nice pocket of warblers including this BLACK-THROATED GREEN:
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BLACK-AND-WHITE:
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And PINE:
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It was a WONDERFUL time at Corkscrew! The next stop on my agenda was Oil Well Grade Road where I was on the lookout for Fulvous Whistling-Duck. Although we dipped on that target, we did find a BALD EAGLE nest:
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And a white-morph LITTLE BLUE HERON:
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The third and final birding stop was Bird Rookery Swamp where my mom and I hiked for a couple of hours. It was slower but there were birds around like this LITTLE BLUE HERON:
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RED-SHOULDERED HAWK:
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WHITE IBIS:
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Turtle:
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TRICOLORED HERON:
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The payoff of the hike was nice, a beautiful lake:
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ANHINGA:
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An AMAZING day of birding! Bird-of-the-day to my life bird Brown-headed Nuthatch with runner-up to the Painted Bunting. Truly incredible! Stay tuned — tomorrow I am headed to Picayune Strand State Forest in search of my life birds Red-cockaded Woodpecker and Short-tailed Hawk.

Good birding,
Henry
World Life List: 969 Species (1 life bird today: Brown-headed Nuthatch)

Posted by skwclar 12:13 Archived in USA

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Comments

Henry, I was Corkscrew last month. What an amazing place! Unfortunately a little too early for the warblers but the buntings were so amazing!! Life bird for me. Thanks for the memory!!

by Michelle Piette

What a beautiful yearly personal calendar you could make with some
of your best photo shots. Thank you for these pictures. I enjoyed the
one of you also.

by Karen Walsh

I especially loved the buntings, both male and female. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos!

by Katie

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