blue skies!  warm weather!  i’m really appreciating that now that i’m back home, where i don’t think i’ve seen the sun at all.  it’s been various shades of gray since wednesday.  when he picked us up at the airport and it was very gray, kevin said it was much brighter than it had been!

i’m happy i got to be in all that sunshine for a week.  also, it was funny seeing all the extremely tan people in the airport as we waited to board our flight home – did they somehow miss the news about how bad tanning is for you?

late saturday morning we drove to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.  it’s been around in some form since the 50’s, and i just read this interesting passage about the place on their website.  i did read about these hunters while on the boardwalk, but here’s a more complete account:

Plume Hunting
Up until the early 1900’s few people outside of southern Florida had ever heard of Corkscrew. It was around this period when egret and heron plumes were in high demand for use in the fashion industry. Plume hunters could make a fortune in a well timed weekend hunt, and were quickly devastating rookeries throughout Florida and in southeastern US. The rookery at Corkscrew was among those targeted. Rhett Green was deputized and employed as a warden by the National Audubon Society. His responsibility was to guard and protect the Corkscrew rookery. By 1913, Rhett Green had begun serving as a guide for people like Thomas Gilbert Pearson, F.M. Phelps, Oscar E. Baynard and W. F. Blackman who were documenting the bird life found at Corkscrew.

Pearson records the words of Audubon Warden Rhett Green regarding his encounter with plume hunters in his book “The Bird Study Book” ( pages 210-211, 1917)

“Those ‘long whites’ are never off my mind for a minute,” said the warden, as we paused to watch some fly over. “Two men came to my camp last week who thought I didn’t know them, but I did. They were old-time plume hunters. They said they were hunting cattle, but I knew better—they were after Egrets and came to see if I was on guard. I told them if they saw any one after plumes to pass the word that I would shoot on sight any man with a gun who attempted to enter the Corkscrew. I would do it, too,” he added as he tapped the barrel of his Winchester. “It is terrible to hear the young birds calling for food after the old ones have been killed to get the feathers for rich women to wear. I am not going to have my birds sacrificed that way.”

The sanctuary is the #2 Naples attraction on tripadvisor, and it was a stunning place. so peaceful and beautiful and swampy…i kept taking pictures because of my desire to try painting watercolors again; i’d love to try to capture some of the beauty of the place.  at least i captured a little bit in photos.


but because we got there so late in the morning, the place was rather full of people.  mostly, people only spoke in whispers, but if we sped up or stopped to look at things, we’d encounter more groups.  it wasn’t horrible, but it’d have been even better if there weren’t quite as many people on the 2.2 mile boardwalk.

this is the biggest crowd – everybody with their gigantic cameras was staked out at a bird feeder, trying to get shots of a painted bunting.


ok, but because it was eating inside this cage, it wasn’t so easy to see him.  i’m sure the folks with the foot-long lenses had an easier time of it, but there were still all the bars of the cage to try to shoot through.  i just thought it was funny, so many people trying to photograph this.


this is what he looks like!


mom and wanda also enjoyed our walk.


because it was late in the morning, and also because there were so many people around, we didn’t see any of the wildlife  in the park.  there are many birds, plus, well, here’s the list of stuff:

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary occupies approximately 13,000 acres in the heart of the Corkscrew Watershed in Southwest Florida, part of the Western Everglades. It is primarily composed of wetlands. These include the largest remaining virgin bald cypress forest in the world (approximately 700 acres), which is the site of the largest nesting colony of Federally Endangered Wood Storks in the nation. In addition to the wood stork, Corkscrew provides important habitat for numerous other Federal and State listed species, including the Florida Panther, American Alligator, Gopher Tortoise, Florida Sandhill Crane, Limpkin, Roseate Spoonbill, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron, White Ibis, Big Cypress Fox Squirrel and the Florida Black Bear. Several rare plants are also found here, most notably the Ghost Orchid.

it would have been exciting to see a panther!




i thought this plant growing under the water was cool.




we did see a tortoise!  there was much excitement from the people around us to see it, but you know, we do have them here in springfield, too.


high-powered binoculars were set up along the path, and when i looked into them, i did see an interesting bird through them.  dang if i could remember what it was!  there must have been a sign there for it, but for once i didn’t take a picture of the sign.  it was a big bird sitting in a nest.

as we got closer to the end of the trail, we did spot this bird, i believe it’s a great egret.  i looked it up on their website; theres a lot of info on all the different birds and nature.  you can even click on a little sound icon to hear what each bird’s sound is.


i’m not sure that i’d like to go back to Naples, but it’d be worth it to just see this sanctuary again.

we stopped for a lunch on the 45-minute drive back to our rental house, and then it was off to marco island.

ok then,