Monday, November 24, 2014

More Florida Follow Up

We made our obligatory trip to Corkscrew Swamp - an Audubon sanctuary located in Immokolee just outside of Naples Florida. We usually see Barred Owls here but we were too early for the nesting season. We did get to see other birds including an assortment of warblers - which as you now are already gone from our northern areas. Yellow-throated Warbler is one of the earliest warblers to return to PA and NJ. I think it is because they winter in Florida rather than way down in South America.  Here is one picking bugs in the cypress trees.

Yellow-throated Warbler
Another fan favorite at Corkscrew is the Pileated Woodpecker. They come much closer to the trail than they do in other parks. Here is a male hammering away at a cypress. You can tell it's a male by the red mustache. Females only have red on the crest. 

Pileasted Woodpecker
Butterflies are also nice to see in November when we know that they are all gone from our area.  Here are 2 that showed well in the swamp.

Ruddy Daggerwing

White Peacock
White Ibis were taking a break from feeding. I caught this one resting on a log.

White Ibis
Crested Caracara are interesting birds. Half hawk, half vulture, they scavenge on dead things along the roads and in farm fields in the deep south. They are quite comfortable walking and running rather than flying through the fields. We often see them on the ground which is how we saw our first Caracara in Belize - flipping cow patties with it's powerful feet to find beetles underneath (eeewww) We have since seen them many times along the road out of Corkscrew and also in NJ and DE as vagrants.  We were not disappointed on this trip where Lori spotted 4 Caracaras along the road eating something that was hit by a car.  I jumped into the bed of our rented pick up truck to snap some photos.  This one captures the bird's field marks the best. You can see the "crest" of feathers hanging off the back of the head and the bare orange skin around the beak. 

Crested Caracara
One final bird from the trip is this immature Bald Eagle that soared and circled above me while I was out at a park in Punta Gorda. He was looking right at me - kinda gave me the creeps. 

Bald Eagle
I'm home for a while now - at least until Christmas.  

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