Twenty-two birders joined me today for Tropical Audubon’s annual fall trip to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Collier County. The group met pre-dawn at the Miccosukee Service Plaza on Alligator Alley (I-75) in western Broward County. During the drive to Corkscrew via CR 833 (Snake Road) and CR 846 (Immokolee Road), we spotted many of the specialties of this area, including impressive numbers of Black-bellied Whistling-Duck and Wild Turkey as well as a few Sandhill Crane and Crested Caracara. We also encountered a large group of White-tailed Deer in a roadside flooded field.
During our exploration of Corkscrew’s 2.25-mile boardwalk through the largest old-growth bald cypress forest in North America, we tallied many of the sanctuary’s resident species, including Limpkin, Wood Stork, Red-shouldered Hawk, Pileated and Downy Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-eyed Vireo and Carolina Wren. Migrants encountered included Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Blue-headed Vireo, Gray Catbird, Northern and Louisiana Waterthrush, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat and Black-and-white, Pine, Palm, Yellow-throated, Prairie and Black-throated Green Warbler.
After lunch at Corkscrew’s picnic area, we began the drive back to Miami, making a stop along the way at flooded fields on Oil Well Road (CR 858) near Ave Maria. Birds added to our trip list during this stop included Blue-winged Teal, Mottled Duck, Pied-billed Grebe and Roseate Spoonbill. Our trip list can be viewed here
Crested Caracara: Photo by Federico Acevedo