Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cold (but Sunny) visit to Corkscrew Swamp Preserve

The weather here in Florida is still much colder than average. How cold is it? Bill and I have one set of warm clothes - the set we wore when we returned from Colorado after Thanksgiving. Yesterday, we dressed in our long pants, long sleeved shirts and sweatshirts and headed down to Corkscrew Swamp Preserve to walk. Today, I will wash those clothes so we can put them on again later today before we venture outside. This will be repeated every day for another week.

We often see Sandhill Cranes in a private yard beside the preserve - but the homeowners do not like people to stop and look or take pictures. Yesterday, I was in luck - the cranes were in a cow pasture beside the main road between Naples and Immokalee. Bill stopped for me to take pictures. I don't have the "Field Guide to Cows" so I can only identify Bessy as a brown cow.

Sandhill Cranes are huge birds - almost 4 feet tall. Adult birds have a bright red patch on their forehead. Seeing them was a great start to our day!

Bill's favorite bird - the Painted Bunting. We always check the bird feeders along the boardwalk at Corkscrew and yesterday we were there just in time to see this beautiful bird having breakfast.

Painted Buntings look like birds that were designed by first-graders with a big box of crayons. While we were taking pictures of the bunting, a more-often-heard-than-seen Ovenbird arrived to eat some of the seed that fell on the ground. I tried to take a picture but he was scared off before I could refocus my camera.

This is the nasty Grackle that came along and scared away the Ovenbird and the Painted Bunting.

One of the easiest warblers to identify - a Black-and-white Warbler; we saw quite a few yesterday.

We knew that Brown Bears lived at Corkscrew but this is the closest we have come to seeing one - claw marks on one of the trees beside the boardwalk.

A gaggle of geese, pride of lions, pod of whales, herd of buffalo and --- the name for a group of vultures is a committee! This Black Vulture was the chair of the committee and he looks angry.

Mr. Squirrel was curious to see if I had a hand-out.

We heard this Red-bellied Woodpecker long before we spotted him.

Bill took this beautiful picture of a butterfly.

Believe it or not - this is an immature Little Blue Heron. He will turn blotchy within the first year.

Adult Little Blue Herons are all blues and purples with greenish legs and a black-tipped gray bill.

This cold snap has lasted long enough that the Manatees are probably keeping warm in the waters by the power plant at Manatee Park. I'll be heading there later today - when my warm clothes are dry - to check them out.

1 comment:

Ministry Mom said...

Thanks for showing the Painted Bunting in real life. I've wondered about them most of my life!

Keep warm. Glad you at least have one set of warm clothes!