Friday, February 5, 2010

Red-shouldered Hawks, Great Crested Flycatcher and more at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

On Thursday morning we had wanted to travel to Sanibel Island and visit the "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, but got off to a late start, and I therefore decided to explore the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, leaving "Ding Darling" for the next day - big mistake as I would later find out. But the Corkscrew Sanctuary turned it into another exciting day.

The first half of the walk did not yield very many new birds. There were many Yellow-rumped Warblers along the path, also a Blue-headed Vireo.

Finally in open country seen from an observation platform the first Red-tailed Hawk presented itself sitting on top of tree close by. Throughout the walk I would count three more, although I couldn't rule out duplicates.

After a few minutes it flew off,

....circled once and disappeared in the woods.

Later on further down the path two hawks were flying through the trees above and settled on a couple of trees.

The land became more swampy. A Great Crested Flycatcher was sitting on branch just above the water.

A Blue-crowned Night-Heron was resting in a tree half hidden by thick vegetation.

The path opened to a patch of water lettuce, in which an immature Little Blue Heron and a Tricolored Heron were hunting for prey.

A male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was feeding on a fruit tree.

Throughout the walk the drumming of various woodpeckers and the check-check-check of the Red-bellied Woodpecker were ringing through the forest.
Returning to the visitor center I checked out the feeders. They were occupied by Boat-tailed Grackles to the exclusion of all others.This female manages to crouch into the small trough of a hanging feeder meant for smaller birds.

To be continued.....


  1. Oh my gosh....I'm so glad I finally had time to drop in. I love all of your waterbirds. Your Tricolored Heron photo in the previous posts (Marco Island) is gorgeous. They all are!

    I really like your photos of the Red-shouldered Hawk. He is the paler version that lives in southern Florida. I've never seen the paler color, and I love it!

    I hope you made it to the Ding Darling Nature Preserve. I went there a few years ago and fell in love! I saw so many cool birds...

  2. Your photos are very nice! I hope you are able to come out to Sanibel for a visit to the Ding Darling Preserve. We sure have lots of Red Shouldered Hawks here. It seems they aren't afraid at all. One sits on our deck railings several times a week. When we go out of the house, the door opens out and the hawk just sits there, within 6 or 7 ft from us and watches as we walk past and down the stairs. We also see hawks that sit on mailboxes along our street and they stay right there as you drive past or ride a bicycle by them. I'll certainly be back to look at more of your photos.

  3. I am back to reading my blogs - great posts Hilke - and many super photos - its a treat in mid winter to be somewhere that you can see and photograph birds. I am especially taken with the RSHA, esp the flight shot showing the shoulders, and the head shot, again showing the shoulder ... really great, and fortunate to have the camera ready at the right moment for the flight shots.

  4. nice pics....I went at corkscrew last week, and was lucky enough to see a white eyed vireo, and a couple of painted buntings. There was report of a shining grackle, but I could not relocate it.

  5. @Laurent: I am looking forward to see your report on your trip! Sadly I missed the birds that you saw at Corkscrew.

  6. I found your blog by googling images of hawks after taking a video of one in my neighborhood on Sanibel. I see lots of hawks but this one was so close to the street and didn't move after we drove closer in the car. He didn't have that distinctive reddish coloring I see on the red-shouldered or tailed so I found you. I got very sucked in to all of your beautiful photos. I'm going to post my photo and video tomorrow - if you get a chance, I'd love to know if you think it's the red shouldered..... I'm not a birder- I'm a sheller. WOW. Thank you so much for a day trip to your bird photos.

  7. Pam, thanks for you nice comment. I'll be happy to take a look at your photo and video. Just leave me an address where to find them.


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