Thursday, January 8, 2009

Florida trip 1/3 : Corkskrew Sanctuary

Florida is (still) a wonder for a Michigan birder, very specially in winter. Corkscrew Refuge was the first birding outing we did during our Florida trip. We basically spend our whole vacation on a very simple and efficient schedule :
Morning : Birding
Afternoon : relaxing on the beach, looking at the gulls, terns and pelicans, secretly hoping for a magnificent frigatebird to show up.
Corkskrew is a little gem in southwest Florida, an Audubon Sanctuary. 2.5 mile of boardwalk lead the visitor through divers habitat (but mostly a marsh). During the nesting season, it offers nesting ground to a record number of Wood storks. For us michiganders, it was simply a marvel to see some green leaves and warblers again! Other birds of interest were a huge number of Red-shoudered hawks (I think I saw more than 20!), several typical florida waders (White ibis, Little Blue Heron, woodstorks, snowy egrets), warblers (black and white, palm and common yellowthroat), as well as an always impressive pilaeted woodpecker. What a nice day.
Corskrew Marsh
But one of the main attraction of the parc is not the marsh itself, but rather 3 bird feeders supposed to often attract a dream bird...the painted bunting! After a few minutes of anxious wait (this was basically our only chance to view this bird during this trip), here he was, a beautiful male (even better!) painted bunting!. What a bird! Instantly, Diane gained another 500 HSE (House sparrow equivalent) in her life list!
Painted Bunting, Digibinned
Little Blue Heron at close range, taken with our P&S camera

Anhinga, digibinned

Oh, and yes, during the afternoon on the beach, I did spotted a nice male Magnificent frigatebird, high in the sky!


Michigan Audubon said...

Thank you for beautiful description of Florida's Corkscrew Swamp! The pictures remind me of my recent residence in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. I hope you continue to update this blog! Take care, Jonathan Lutz

SalineVance said...

I love the shot of the painted bunting - a beautiful bird! Do you have any others?

Laurent said...

Thanks for the comments. Yes, SalineVance, I have a few more pictures, but they are basically the same. I had only a 30 sec view of the bird, and tried to keep my binoculars/camera as stable as possible (I dont own a fancy camera, so I basically only do digibinning). 2 burst of 3 pictures, and it was gone.