Thursday, January 22, 2009

Barefoot beach, Corkscrew Swamp, Naples, FLA

January 21

Been keeping a low lazy profile since arriving in Naples. We have walked the trails in this complex every morning and have seen some wonderful birds at the marshy area. Each day there is a different variety of wildlife here, ranging from swift flying Baltimore Orioles to Short Billed Dowitchers, (my favorite). Our current list includes a small flock of white Ibis’, several Blue Herons, a Great Egret, common Moorhens, and some Pied Billed Grebes, new to my personal birding list. Unfortunately we don't have pictures of all of them, and some are barely adequate but I'll post them anyway.

The hut at the end of a boardwalk spur here at the condo

A gopher turtle seen on the trail at the condo. These turtles are numerous in this area.

Little Blue Heron

Four wood storks

Snowy Egret

Great White Herons

Wood Stork

We have gone to a matinees for the movie, Gran Torino, and a performance of a Beatles tribute band called “Rain”. Both were fun. The Rain concert has left us all singing Beatles songs all day.

The week included a trip to the local “Barefoot Beach”, where we did a bit of shell collecting and more bird watching. This was where, at the very beginning of the trail, two osprey were settling into an old established nest. As we passed under them, they both gave us a piece of their mind about treading so close to their digs.

Walking the trail to the beach

The nesting pair on the trail to the beach

Shell hunters

Touch Down

Safe landing

Beach Art

Monday the 19th we spent the afternoon at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Audubon Center. This facility includes a 2 mile boardwalk, made from Brazilian wood, taken from a sustainable growth managed forest, that travels into and through a 13,000 acre Bald Cypress swamp. This sanctuary is the last island of natural habitat in this region where development has been phenomenal.

Instead of an introductory movie or slide show, this presentation unfolds in an open room with a stylized boardwalk on one edge of the room and what looks like a painting of the swamp behind it. As the narrator talks about the changing seasons, inhabitants, and natural occurrences that take place here, what appeared to be a static painting changes to a transparent screen. Different section light up, illumination special features or animals, as the talk progresses. Nice use of technology to animate a still life scene.

In addition to providing access to the swamp, Audubon provides educational programs created to help educate the public on the benefits of conserving water, land and energy. Their programs include “ Wild Florida Adventure” for elementary schools, and “Together Green” activities for middle school students. These programs embody the sentiment conveyed in a wonderful poem they have posted on a sign board along the trail:

In the end
You only conserve what you love,
You only love what you understand
You only understand what you are taught

Bald Cypress root system

A small Bald Cypress tree

Strangler Fig vines wrapping around a bald cypress

Birds drop the seeds of the fig onto the upper branches, and the vines grow down.

A Cypress Knee, which at one time was believed to add oxygen to the root system. Today scientists believe they are used as an additional support system for the tree.

Great Egret

A poor picture of a black crested night heron. We saw this through the scope and Linda took this picture to prove it!

A poor enlargment of a yellow crowned night heron that we saw through the scope. This was taken with Linda's small cannon camera


pond lettuce. This plant is not edible to either man or beast but provides wonderful habitat for aquatic life

An imature white ibis, he isn't all white yet

Short tailed hawk seen at the nearby marsh. We saw two red sholdered hawks at the sanctuary, but no pictures.

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