We went a lot of places on our way home and Denny took a ton of pictures so in order to not have too long of a blog I’m dividing it into two parts.
We spent two nights in Collier Seminole SP, home of a multitude of mosquitos. I believe the description of the mosquito level was “donor”. It’s really a nice park and they have a loyal crew of friends who have all kinds of activities set up. Guess it was the wrong time of the season though. We didn’t want to just sit in our camper so we covered ourselves in DEET and off we went. Our first stop was Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge. At the beginning of the path there were lots of Warblers flying around but the light was bad for pictures so we walked the trail to a tower and spied the following:
Great Blue Heron
Another Friendly Gator
There were lots of ducks (mostly Blue-winged Teal) on the lakes and some pretty butterflies.
After a long walk in some pretty hot weather we got some lunch and went to Big Cypress Bend. This had a small boardwalk then a trail though some shade we were grateful to see. The trail ended at a small waterhole with some more nice birds.
Wood Stork and Juvenile White Ibis
There were also some nice air plants and Strangler Fig;
The next day we drove up to see another old paddling buddy, Ed, and his wife, Pam. We thought the drive was short so we stopped on the way at Corkscrew Swamp. Since we spent about 4 hours there we arrived later than we thought but got there in time for dinner.
Corkscrew Swamp is an Audubon site of about 11,000 acres. It has a 2 and a half mile boardwalk through a 500 year old Bald Cypress swamp which we walked. Our first sighting was a Red shouldered Hawk sitting on a branch in the woods eating a very large snake. He was taking his time eating and it looked like it he had enough to take him through the week. You can see the snake hanging down a ways. It’s black with red striped across its belly. We never got a good ID on it.
We walked on through fields with Iris in bloom and through swamps with lots of Cypress knees.
Then we came to a very wet area with water lettuce and lots of birds.
There were a lot of the same birds we had been seeing but we found our first Limpkin of the trip along with a very striking Anhinga in mating plumage.
There was a shortcut at this point so we decided to take it and get some lunch and come back the other way. We came back to the other end of the water area with lots more birds.
Juvenile and Adult Black crowned Night Heron
Great Blue Heron and Gator
Yellow crowned Night Heron
We spoke with one of the volunteers about where to find the Painted Buntings and he said they come to the feeders and pointed us in the right direction.
We found 4 males and 1 female. Her picture didn’t come out but she’s kind of plain and just yellow.
On our way out we also saw a flock of Wild Turkeys.