Tuesday, March 3, 2015

3/2 Corkscrew Swamp Santuary - 2nd Visit

I had planned on going out to the more local Six Mile Cypress Slough today, but found out the visitor center was closed on Mondays, so off I went to one of my favorite places in Florida--the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary!  It is well over an hour drive from where I am staying, but well worth it.  Got up early so I could get a good parking place, also. 

I am never bored by what I see here.  This time I joined one of the guided tours and did the 2.25 mile boardwalk backwards.  First, a couple of photos of the boardwalk itself in this incredibly beautiful cypress swamp!  Lots of people enjoying this very warm day.  Every time I come here, it seems to be busier.  I will have to stop telling people about it.

But there is always a quiet section or a side area you can find where it is peaceful and quiet.
A lot of plants like to stay a little dry, so they grow on logs or on other plants.

Here is a very large bromeliad growing on a dead cypress tree.

It rained earlier this week, so the resurrection fern was resurrected.  This fern grows on vertical tree branches and look dead.  About 30 minutes after a heavy rain, it comes alive, hence its name.  
On the left is a royal fern and on the right is a strap fern.  Both are growing on the base of a cypress tree.
Almost always an alligator or two can be seen.  Did not see the really big one I saw last time, but this one was moving around slowly looking for a sunnier location.  He was about five feet long.

This one was about the same size.

My, what an ugly head you have!

Now, some birds.  This is a little blue heron.
 And a bunch of ibises looking for food.  They are social birds and tend to scurry around in small flocks.

This ugly bird is a wood stork  They are very endangered and are seldom nesting in Florida any more.  Luckily their numbers are increasing in the Carolina coasts, but that is still not good news for Florida. 
Click on this link to see their very interesting fishing techniques.  They put their open beak in the water and then swish a foot around to stir up small fish and crayfish.  When something touches their beak, it snaps shut, catching a meal.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BfWgTqzTHo&feature=youtu.be

 This is a great egret in breeding plumage.  They used to hunt these birds to use their long, fringy-looking plumes for ladies hats.  You can tell a great white egret from a great white heron by their legs.  The egrets have dark or black legs, while the herons have yellow legs.

And a little blue heron. 

 This is a yellow-crowned night heron. Hard to see the yellow on his head, but it is there.  Mostly you can identify this bird by the white cheek stripes.

This is a common grey squirrel, but he and I stared at each other for quite a while.  He was right next to the boardwalk, eating lichen off of trees.  No acorns here, so you have to make do. 

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