Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

This was our first trip to this park, just outside of Naples,Florida. It has trails and boardwalks that goes through a swamp in central Florida. I was hoping there would be more birds here since it was the end of April and spring migration was still going on but the boardwalk was pretty quiet.

One cool thing about the park was all of the old trees which kept the boardwalk shaded.

It wouldn’t be a swamp with alligators but it was fun seeing the otter near the boardwalk.

Views from the boardwalk taken with my phone.

After the park, Brett and I left Naples behind and headed home to Tampa. I wanted to take some pictures of the Sunshine Skyway bridge as we drove over but the love bugs were so bad that our windshield was covered in them. The funny thing is that our car wasn’t nearly as bad as other cars and vans that had come from much farther south. Of course, Brett washed the car as soon as we got home.

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Serendipity is Sweet

 

A rare hybrid at Fort Desoto

Not this normal cormorant, but I was wondering what those guts were next to his wing. Someone’s unfinished lunch.

The above beautiful bird is a hybrid of a great blue heron and a great egret. A great bird indeed. He has the body of a great blue heron and legs and face of a great egret. He’s been hanging around the fishing pier for at least 2 years. He’s famous with the locals and I call him “Harry, the Hybrid”. Although now, he’s been spotted at 2 places at the same time so people are now thinking there are more than one. He must have a sibling.

A regular ole great egret with green breeding feathers around his beak.

Out at east beach, the sun had long come up over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

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Early morning at Fort Desoto

Terns, willets and laughing gulls out on the beach.

A lone prairie warbler on the trail.

Someone caught a creepy crab while fishing on the pier.

A common sight around the fishing pier, a snowy egret hitching a ride.

The morning started off cloudy, looking like it was going to rain but the sun came out before noon.

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Fort Desoto in early January

Little birds along the shore at Fort Desoto Park.

Weird sea slugs that were on the sand at low tide. The muck was full of these.

The tide would be coming in soon to wash this guy back into the water.

A very large raft of ducks far out in the water near the Sunshine Skyway bridge. I think these were mostly ring neck ducks.

Scenes from the beach.

In early January I was walking the trails and noticed an owl sitting in an old osprey nest.

Not a bad way to be stuck in traffic. On my way home I got stuck on the bridge for a few minutes while the bridge was up waiting for some tall boats to pass underneath.

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The “snow” birds have arrived

I had heard the white pelicans had come down to south St. Petersburg for the winter. They had been recently sighted at Fort Desoto near the north beach tip. The big white pelicans only spend part of the winter in the area and leave in early spring. I headed down in mid-November to look for them and after looking everywhere for them I was about to leave. I stopped at the East beach turnaround before leaving to see if any new shorebirds were there. I noticed something white behind the tall overgrown mangroves. There in a small lagoon, hidden behind the mangroves was a small flock of them. They were busy feeding and didn’t notice me standing in the mangroves across the lagoon. I watched these big beautiful graceful birds feeding together. They would fly in and together, a small group would swim around scooping up the fish. I’m hoping I see them again before they leave.

Beautiful birds and a beautiful morning.

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Ghost town on the beach

A nice clean beach after Park supervisor Jim had scooped up all of the dead fish from the red tide algae bloom that lands on the beach during high tide. This morning in late October, Jim had told me that they had just cleaned up 6 miles of beaches, trying to keep it clean so the tourist can enjoy the beach. Even in late November, we were still getting some dead sea life but not as bad as it was in October.

It was still a beautiful morning even with a slight fishy smell.

The dog beach and the fishing pier were deserted that morning since no one wanted to be in the red tide water. It was like a ghost town.

I did see some dolphins coming out of the water from far across the bay.

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Early April at Fort Desoto

Pretty flowers on the trail to the beach.

A few of the usual birds on the beach.

I looked back as I was leaving the parking lot and saw the cardinal checking himself out on my side mirror.

A northern parula was the only bird in the woods in early April.

An osprey checking me out.

A pelican flying by and a common bird soaring over the beach in the summer, a frigatebird.

The storm clouds were moving in at Fort Desoto.

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