Friday, July 28, 2017

Draining the Swamp: Photographic Highlights from Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

[Corkscrew Swamp. Collier Co. April 2017]


Historically, mosquito populations were kept under control by the periodic draining of swampland. In a political context, however, the phrase "Drain the Swamp" implies something else: it is a metaphor for cleansing the seat of our national government (in Washington DC) from the nefarious forces of corruption. This is a phrase that has gained a lot of publicity (or should we say notoriety) in the recently concluded (and highly acrimonious) presidential campaign. 

Taking facetious liberty with this expression, our goal in this blog post is to drain the available photographic opportunities from the Swamp -- more precisely the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp  and present the choicest avian selections to the reader -- species such as:
  • Northern Parula
  • American Redstart
  • Black-and-white Warbler
  • Palm Warbler
  • Northern Waterthrush
  • Carolina Wren
  • Grey Catbird
  • Blue-grey Gnatcatcher
  • White-eyed Vireo
  • Indigo Bunting
  • Painted Bunting
We start with the most colorful resident breeder at this venue:



Northern Paurlas have a huge (though disjointed) North-South breeding range. They are found breeding from Southern Florida to as far North as Canada. 



At Corkscrew, the males start singing in February and by April, it is impossible to walk further than 50 yards without hearing their joyful song of galloping buzzes and chips.


While the male sports a red band on the chest, the female is a duller version and lacks the red band:


American Redstart was also observed in migration:






Black-and-white Warbler is a common winter resident at the swamp and this individual won't be seen here much longer as they head North:





Palm Warbler is one of the most abundant warblers in winter in SW Florida; in April, the rich rusty crown of the males start to show:



The Palm Warbler, curiously, has absolutely no affinity with Palm trees but the name has stuck:


Corkscrew Swamp is a reliable venue for both waterthrushes and on this particular visit, Northern Waterthrush was well observed:



Other songbirds included:
Carolina Wren:





A lovely grey mockingbird known as the Grey Catbird for the sound it makes:


Blue-grey Gnatcatcher:



White-eyed Vireo:



Indigo Bunting:


And the most celebrated finch at this venue -- Painted Bunting:




We shall let the politicians indulge in their puerile games of legislative gridlock; and, while our leaders talk about "draining the swamp" by removing the entrenched elite in Washington; we birders, must see in this overused metaphor a more sanguine interpretation -- that of draining the full potential of observational opportunities at hotspots such as Corkscrew Swamp where a bounty of warblers, vireos and buntings await our eager discovery.

2 comments:

  1. Well the last soundbite I heard from the President is to "Drain the sewer." About as derogatory as you can get in the political sense, but certainly not in any way referenced here to diminish the good humor, stellar photography and insightful commentary.

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    Replies
    1. While swamps can be productive, I hope to never have to be birding sewers, Bob!

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