A visit to Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is always a joy. You never know what you will see – from alligators to raccoons to over 200 birds that call the swamp their temporary or permanent home. Photo opportunities are available at every turn of the 2.5 mile boardwalk trail.
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Today is the Epiphany (12 days after Christmas). I had planned to take my Christmas tree/decorations down today. But when Gary mentioned going to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, I said “o.k.” It’s another chance to use my new Sony a6300 mirror less camera that Gary got me for Christmas.
This was our view headed to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
On our 90 minute drive, I was having to serious doubts that the fog would lift and our day of wildlife would be a bust. But, just as we arrived the sun burned off the fog.
This is our fifth time visiting the preserve, owned by the Audubon Society. It has one of the last stands of uncut cypress trees in the United States. I wrote more about the Sanctuary and how to get there, when to go, etc. in my blog post Visiting Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
When we arrived, we decided to take the boardwalk to the right and head to the lettuce ponds first (since that is where most of the wildlife hangs out, at least in our experience).
Immediately, we were greeted with several male and female cardinals at the bird feeders just outside the visitor center. I took several photos, but this was the best one.
Then we came upon this beauty – a male painted bunting.
It was my first time seeing one. He is so gorgeous. What a thrill!
As you walk the boardwalk, they are several interpretive signs. Here we learned that this (below) is called a nurse log which is a fallen tree which, as it decays, provides ecological support for other plants.
I just love the cypress knees. They are part of the cypress tree root that sticks up from the water. How and why these “knees” grow have baffled scientists for centuries.
We watched this Great White Egret for a while. He was definitely on the hunt for his next meal.
On past visits, we’ve seen Great Blue Herons. But today, we didn’t. However, the herons were represented with a Little Blue Heron as well as a Little Green Heron.
This Little Blue Heron posed for me. It looks like he has a tiny feather on his beak.
We saw this Limpkin. He, like the Great White Egret we saw earlier, was on the hunt for food.
This vist, we saw lots of anhinga. This guy was putting on a show for us. At first, at first he was sunning himself facing away from us.
Then he turned around to face us. I guess he liked getting is picture taken.
I’m not a very good selfie taker but the fog lifted here at Corkscrew Swamp, and we’re enjoying the wildlife so I had to take a snap. Also, this is the first time I’ve been there where I wasn’t sweating (it was actually cool and pleasant) and no mosquito bites. It’s a great day!
After we left the lettuce lakes and were continuing around the boardwalk, I was getting a little hungry, so I asked Gary if he wouldn’t mind turning back around and going back the way we came … this would put us going past the lettuce lakes again. He agreed (I think he was getting hungry too).
And it is a good thing we did this because by the time we pasted the bigger lettuce lake, a baby alligator was sunning himself on a log.
We also would have missed seeing this pig frog. It’s actually a frog that sounds like a pig. I’ve heard this sound on several other occasions but always thought there were wild pigs in the area, never once thinking that that big sound could be coming from this little guy.
A flock of Ibis landed on the railing near to us. You know how it is when you see something all the time, you get used to it and not enjoy its beauty? Well, we have tons of Ibis that roam our neighborhood, and I’m trying to be in awe of all nature, so I watched these guys for a while and got a couple of great photos. Here are two of them.
Just as we were leaving the lettuce ponds, we spotted some raccoon – a momma and three babies. I was able to capture this one, but the babies were too far away and in some thick brush so no decent photos.
Here’s a view of the trees from the end of the boardwalk.
As I turned around, I was rewarded with one of my favorite sightings – a red shouldered hawk. I think they just look so regal. He definitely had an eye on me, but he let me snap several photos of him before he flew off.
Well that’s a wrap for this visit to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary — I took tons more photos, but that’s enough for this post. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of visiting. I learn something new each time and it is always a pleasure to see the wildlife … even if they don’t cooperate for my photos.