Sunday, March 15, 2009

Corkscrew Sanctuary Naples Florida

I got up early Saturday morning, had my coffee, showered and bolted out the door to meet brother Bob for our trip to the sanctuary. As I said earlier, Bob volunteers there two days a week. Birders from all over come to the sanctuary and as you can see by some of the pictures below, good reasons to do so.
I hope brother Steve sees this. If you do, "eat your heart out"! We headed out in a truck with four birders in back with a guide. Everytime they saw a bird or wanted to stop the guide would knock on the top of the truck. I had the opportunity to learn more about birding from my brother and spend some time catching up on what is going on in our family and our lives. One of our first friends was this barred owl.

Driving down the road about halfway through the tour, we heard another knock on the roof and I grabbed the binoculars hoping to see a new bird. Instead, people were whispering and pointing to the front of the road. There they were, two bobcats in the mating season. We stopped dead in our tracks and began to take pictures. I took quite a few but the ones below are some of the best. I thought for sure we had scared them off but they began to walk towards us. Again, thinking they would dart off into the swamp, closer they came and eventually started their mating calls and playing a bit rough.

Before the tour, the guides gave us a brief explanation of the sanctuary, where we were situated, size of the sanctuary and the parcels they were able to buy as this was previously farmland. Some neighbors still have cattle that wonder into the sanctuary from time to time.

This is the swamp vehicle that was behind us on the way down the path. It too was full of birders. That's my little brother Bob in his uniform and tour gear.

Here is some information from their website regarding the boardwalk.

A 2.25-mile raised boardwalk takes visitors through four distinct environments: a pine upland, a wet prairie, a cypress forest, and a marsh. Interpretive signs along the boardwalk and a field guide and Children's Activity Book available at the admissions desk in the Blair Center allow each visitor to take the self-guided tour. Benches and rain shelters are along the trail. For those who do not wish to walk the full 2.25 miles, an optional trail shortens the walk to one mile. Volunteer naturalists are usually on the boardwalk to answer questions.

Unfortunately, we left the camera in the car for the walk along the boardwalk. It was a gold mine as it has been dry here and the water is low. All types of herons, alligators, even a raccoon gathered at some of the watering holes to feed on the readily available fish swimming in the shallows. We were on the boardwalk for about 2 hours and could have literally sat there all day and seen bird after bird. This was a real experience for me and I can't wait to come back and spend more time.

I would like to acknowledge my brother Bob for his volunteer work. He also gives guided tours to elementary students which keeps nature in their minds. We need more work like this so that future generations can appreciate the wonders of Mother Nature and all she has to offer us, reminding us that we too are a part of this big picture and our actions wiill affect what happens next in some way. Thanks Bob and all the other great people who work at the sanctuary.

Here is a list of birds we saw in just one day trip:

parula warbler barred owl grackle black vulture turkey vulture

wood stork swallow tailed kite white ibis glossy ibis yellow crowned night heron

roseate spoonbill little blue heron great blue heron prairie warbler

palm warbler cardinal anhinga wood nuck cedar waxwing gold fince

painted bunting (?) double breasted mattress thrashers black and white warbler


  1. rocmoc n AZ/MexicoMarch 15, 2009 at 5:00 PM

    Chris, find the time to snorkel with the Manatees north of Tampa. We did 4 years ago and it is a memory of a lifetime.

  2. Hi Chris,Sounds like a great trip. I have seen some of those thrashers around here.Bill and Sharon