Saturday, January 31, 2009

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary continues to be one of our favorite places. Yesterday was damp and overcast. We were on the boardwalk shortly after the 7 a.m. opening.

The White Ibis were also enjoying the boardwalk. We watched a small colony for some time before moving on.

They are so interesting with their long red bills constantly probing looking for insects and small fish. My sister calls them the "Sewing Machine Birds" because their heads go up and down like the sewing machine needle.

We often see small herons nearby hoping the ibis will scare up some food for them too.

This is a Yellow-crowned Night Heron as is the bird in the next image. Notice their heads. The first one had a bright yellow cap while the other bird, sitting near by, had a duller cap.

We assume they were a pair with the more colorful one being the male.

I was excited to see this Green Heron sitting close to the boardwalk so I could get a good picture.

This is a Red-bellied Woodpecker. I can't see where the name comes from!
The Great Blue Heron is a beautiful bird. This one was sitting on the railing ahead and we waited for some time before moving ahead.

He heard something in the distance, came to attention and flew off.

This is an Anhinga - the birds we usually see with their wings spread out to dry after swimming. I like this shot as you can see the white on her wings. Males have more black on their neck.

After we completed our 2.2 mile walk, we hiked back to the bird feeders as we heard a Painted Bunting had been seen earlier.

There was a lot going on at the bird feeders.
These are Goldfinches with their winter coats.

Isn't this pair of cardinals just beautiful?

Finally we were rewarded when this beautiful Painted Bunting arrived with his mate.

Bill and I filled the memory card on our camera taking pictures!

Neither of us could get over the vibrant colors! These are small birds - about the size of a sparrow.

While we were watching the buntings, a Pileated Woodpecker flew by and landed behind us. The naturalist pointed him out but we were not quick enough to get a decent picture. But, I had the binoculars and got a really good look.

There were other critters at the bird feeders.
This squirrel was not bothered one bit by the anti-squirrel cone around the rope!

And, while we were watching, these two racoons came up and started eating the seed that had fallen from the feeders. They scared the squirrel off - and most of the other birds. They looked so cute - it's sometimes hard to remember what nasty animals they really are.

We had a wonderful morning at the Sanctuary and will go back again soon.

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