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Monday, March 2, 2015

More from the Swamp: Ruby-crowned Kinglet, White-eyed Vireo and Red-bellied Cooter

[Corkscrew Swamp. December 2014]

A small songbird is fleetingly sighted gleaning insects in the trees at Corkscrew Swamp -- the observer's identification reflex kicks in -- suggesting the strong possibility of a warbler or, perhaps, a vireo? On this occasion, however, neither conclusion would hold true:

The wing-bars offer a hint; but a better clue, while invisible in the picture above, can clearly be seen in the following picture taken up North in Spring:

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Magee Marsh. OH.
This "Little King" wears a ruby-red crown -- and indeed, this is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet -- a species, this blogger has not heretofore enjoyed with photographic success at Corkscrew Swamp. 

Although range maps for this species do cover most of South Florida, eBird data over the last decade show frequency of observation decidedly decreasing as one progresses South toward the tip of the Florida peninsula. 

This tiny, rotund songbird is one of two kinglet species found in the US (however, the Golden-crowned Kinglet's distribution does not extend into Southern Florida).

Speaking of wing-bars, the White-eyed Vireo is similarly plumaged but, unlike the kinglet, a regular at Corkscrew:

White-eyed Vireo seen at Corkscrew Swamp
This striking vireo is found widely in the Southeast US and its characteristic song is a common refrain in Spring and Summer and annotated as "Quick -- with the beer. Check!"

White-eyed Vireo seen at Corkscrew Swamp
While the White-eyed Vireo is a permanent resident at the Swamp, the Blue-headed Vireo is a winter visitor only:

Blue-headed Vireo seen at Corkscrew Swamp
Other species observed included Blue-grey Gnatcatcher:

Carolina Wren:

Eastern Phoebe:

The noisy and ubiquitous Grey Catbird:
Further in to the woods, a crisp knocking betrays the presence of a Pileated Woodpecker -- our largest:

A Red-shouldered Hawk in its prime:

And, finally a Florida Red-bellied Cooter:

Pictured in what must undeniably rank as circumstances most unfortunate, this otherwise hardy turtle ranges in freshwater habitat from Southern Georgia through Florida. 

While it would be easy to fall in to the trap of sentimentality, in Nature's circle of life there are neither victims nor villains -- just a dance of survival between species whose lives are inextricably, and sometimes lethally, intertwined.

1 comment:

Bob Pelkey said...

Your Ruby-crowned Kinglet observed at Corkscrew Swamp, Hemant, was considered a remarkable specialty when you first told me of its sighting. It's good to see more images associated with the telling of your experience on the boardwalk that day.