Birding at Corkscrew Swamp and Ft. Myers Beach

Twenty birders joined me yesterday for a caravan trip to birding locations in Collier and Lee Counties. The trip began at the brand-new Miccosukee service plaza on Government/Snake Road (CR 833) and Alligator Alley (I-75) in Broward County. We headed north on Snake Road into Hendry County, then west on Immokalee Road (CR 846) into Collier County, stopping for roadside birds along the way. We encountered just about every one of our expected target species, including Fulvous and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Mottled Duck, Wild Turkey, Limpkin, Sandhill Crane, Wood Stork, Roseate Spoonbill and Crested Caracara. We also spotted a few nice mammals during our drive, including two River Otters, a Wild Boar and a Coyote! Separate eBird checklists were submitted for roadside birding in Broward , Hendry and Collier Counties.

We arrived at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary shortly after 9am. Resident species we encountered during our visit included Downy and Pileated Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo, Tufted Titmouse, Brown-headed Nuthatch and Carolina Wren. We also found a few migrant songbirds including Gray Catbird, Louisiana and Northern Waterthrushes, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart (lots), and Worm-eating, Black-and-white, Black-throated Blue and Pine Warblers. Our eBird checklist for Corkscrew is here .

After a picnic lunch at Corkscrew, we continued west to Big Carlos Pass in Ft. Myers Beach. A highlight here was a handsome pair of American Oystercatchers. Other birds seen during our walk along the beach included Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers, Killdeer, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Willet and Royal and Sandwich Terns. Our eBird checklist for Big Carlos Pass is here .

Heading back towards Miami, we stopped at Picayune State Forest’s Belle Mead Horse Trail in Naples, hoping to find a few woodpeckers we had yet to encounter during the day. Unfortunately, the trail was completely flooded, so we moved on to nearby Serenity Walk Park, where we added Red-headed Woodpecker and Northern Flicker to our day list. An eBird checklist for this final stop is here .

Thanks to Luis Gonzalez for his Coyote, Crested Caracara and Red-headed Woodpecker photos and to Michele Louden for her American Oystercatcher photo.