Friday, August 16: Corkscrew

It was another warm, muggy August morning, but at least it was cloudy all day and it took a few minutes longer to be completely sweat-soaked. We watched storms and heavy rain just skirt our area on the weather radar, and they brought a trace of breeze, which was most welcome.

Some of the early bird migrants are appearing in other places in Southwest Florida, but they haven't settled into Corkscrew yet. The only warblers we saw were Black-and-white and Yellow-throated, and the only vireo was the White-eyed.

Water levels are still too high for wading birds to drop in. The only long-legged bird observation was of a lone Sandhill Crane that flew over. Black-bellied Ducks like the one above that was at the north lake were in the trees and air, one Common Gallinule was below the observation platform, and several Anhingas were perched in trees. That was it for water birds.

We only wound up with 16 species of birds for the day. The most common were Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Carolina Wrens, followed by the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, White-eyed Vireos, and Tufted Titmice. One visitor spotted a Barred Owl, but none of us did.

Even insects were not overly common. We only saw four species of butterflies and the only dragonfly/damselfly species were Eastern Pondhawks and Citrine Forktails. Sam was the only one to find an Alligator, and one large Soft-shelled Turtle was swimming by the boardwalk spur leading to the observation platform.

Plants were much more cooperative, but then, they didn't have much of a choice. The Ghost Orchid had four and a half blooms open. The one at the top of the photo had lost most of its petals, possibly to caterpillars, but the four below it were in good shape, and there were three buds visible. Lots of Scarlet Hibiscus were in bloom in the central marsh, and Buttonbush were blooming again. Pickerelweed, Sagittaria, and Salt Marsh Mallow were the other showy bloomers.

Two of the more entertaining observations were watching the Shoreline Fishing Spider, above, walk across the water near the start of the shortcut trail. When it moved, all of the legs started going but the motion was slow -- a lot of effort for very little distance. But it did move easily.

The other was watching the Carolina Wren below catch, prepare, and devour a sphinx moth caterpillar.