What We Saw At Lettuce Lake
April 5, 2014
Last week we took a short trip to Florida. On a day that forecast some rain we headed with our umbrellas to the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary near Naples, Florida. It is a little north of the Everglades and it was just a fascinating morning. Everywhere we turned we saw a captivating bit of natural wonder. In fact our admission fee was good for two days, so we returned the next morning and saw more birds.
I believe this is a Prothonotary Warbler. Dan took this picture of a migrating bird that the Audubon guide told us had just come to the swamp two days earlier.
The first day a guide along the walkway stopped us to point out this barred owl. We were also able to located two quite large babies in two nearby locations. The mother was keeping track of them and maybe taking a few daytime naps, too.
The next day we saw two different barred owl babies that were still way up in a bald cypress tree. You can see the face of one and some feathers below of the second owl.
Landmark Cypress 8. There were 12 landmark cypress trees, each with a little story about their backgrounds printed nearby. Many of these trees are 400 to 500 years old. Think about that! The vines surrounding the tree trunk are strangler figs. The owls seemed to make nests high up in bald cypress trees.
We saw this Anhinga on the same branch both days. It apparently spreads its wings to dry them out.
Great Egret. These birds were almost killed to extinction for the plumes used to decorate women’s hats. The Audubon Society was created to stop this slaughter. These birds are still threatened by agriculture and development, which has been taking away their habitat.
Lettuce Lake at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Birds, alligators, and turtles are among the residents of this pond in the bald cypress swamp.
A little blue heron hunts on lettuce lake. It was walking on top of this “lettuce.”
We got many nice pictures of this little blue heron, but I like this one where you can see the plumes fluffed up.
Nearby was an immature little blue heron, which still had its white coloring. I was so thankful for the Audubon guide who quickly identified the pictures on my camera, or I would have been confused by this one.
While a group of us had stopped to look at the Anhinga, an alligator emerged from the swamp and everyone became silent as they observed this creature we had all been hoping to see.
Florida Redbelly Turtle at Lettuce Lake.
Gray Catbird. I had a distant picture of a catbird in the cypress trees, but after we finished our walk this bird came up to our table hoping for some crumbs.
Red-shouldered Hawk. On our second visit to corkscrew swamp sanctuary this hawk let us take several pictures while he kept an eye on us.
Other sightings included: a blue-gray gnatcatcher, a great-crested flycatcher, a black-crowned night heron, many white ibis, black vultures, zebra longwing butterflies, and what appeared to be an eastern mud snake.