Over all it has been a tough couple of weeks for us. As I reported last time…Connie had a UTI which resulted in canceling both our scheduled trip to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and her opera performance. And she was barely over that when she got a sinus infection and needed even more antibiotics…and then both she and Neil came down with a cold or some other crud which has had them feeling lousy, coughing, and dealing with stuffed up heads. She’s finally on the mend…we think…and Neil is a couple days behind her so we think she had it first and gave it to him.
In the meantime…we did go on the Fort Myers Murder Mystery train last Sunday…had a nice prime rib dinner, a bottle of wine, and watched the play which was an investigation into the murder of Kilroy…the famous jokester from WWII fame…and they were successful in determining who the killer was…it was the extremely well built Henrietta Winchester. The entire trip took about 3-1/2 hours and we went north on the train about 10 miles before turning around and heading back to the station. A good time was had by all though. Don’t worry that this is a spoiler should one choose to go on the trip…in the first place they change the play every 3 months and in the second place there were 3 or 4 potential bad guys (or girls) and with just a few different lines of dialog the clues would lead you to choose somebody else and Ima pretty sure that the murderer changes from night to night (they do the show 4 times a week).
And we did end up going off to Corkscrew this past Wednesday…although in view of our lack of stamina with the cold/crud/whatever it is we decided to take the shortcut over to North and South Lettuce Lake which was where the birds hang out normally. The water is getting pretty low…which just serves to concentrate the fish and crabs and makes for a nice feeding frenzy by the birds and gators. We spent about 2 hours on our walkabout this time and got out of there a bit after 1000 before it got overly hot…because ya know it is Florida down here and it tends to get a bit hot and humid in the summer time.
We were supposed to go down to Pasta Night…Baked Ziti with Italian Sausage…at the Elks on Wednesday but by the time we got the hour drive home from Corkscrew, had lunch and a shower and Connie did a little Ladies of Elks work…we were just too tired to go back out so we had some chicken and roasted garlic ravioli and a glass of wine.
The display for his new Mac Studio came in and is all set up…the photos in this post are the first ones he’s processed on the new machine. Same software…just a whole bunch faster getting things done.
He had ordered his new camera and lens from B&H Photo up in NYC but got a hint that ordering direct from Nikon might be a little faster so now he has 2 of each on order…they don’t charge until shipping so he’ll just cancel one of each when they ship.
Ok…photos from our trip to Corkscrew.
You leave the visitor center and with covid the boardwalk is now one way clockwise rather than the free form path it used to be…it’s a long narrow loop boardwalk about 2.5 miles all the way around but there’s a shortcut about halfway out over to the return side by the lakes where the birds hang out. We’ve never seen much out on the far end so skipping it wasn’t a real problem for us. After getting the boardwalk there’s a short passage through a pine area then an open grassy area…where we spotted our first find of the day…
Red Breasted Woodpecker
There were actually a pair of them…probably a mated pair but one flew off before we got a decent shot…well we got one of the one flying off but it was a pretty lousy pose so we skipped it.
Then Connie spotted this Swallow Tailed Kite coming in and got a nice shot of it landing.
Kites are raptors…birds of prey…a bit smaller than an eagle and a really pretty species. We watched this one for 10 minutes or so hoping it would fly…no such luck. So we headed on up the boardwalk and took the shortcut over to the lake side.
On arrival at the lakes…our first spot was this 11-12 foot gator.
He’s actually in the water there…but it’s just really shallow water.
Connie grabbed this bromeliad.
While Neil went for the bird feeding frenzy.
Juvenile White Ibis and Roseate Spoonbill…they were pretty close to the big gator but basically ignored him.
Closeup of the gator.
And the juvenile White Ibis again.
Neil spotted this Black Crowned Night Heron across the way…we’ve seen probably hundreds of these and every one was just sitting there like a still life painting…at least up until today as you’ll see in a bit.
More feeding frenzy…Stork, Spoonbill, and Ibis.
And for the first time ever…the Black Crowned was actually fishing instead of just sitting on the branch.
Juvenile Little Blue Heron in its changeling phase.
White Ibis and Great Egret.
Black Crowned Night Heron
I have no idea what it was doing here with a single wing extended…maybe shading the water to look for prey like the Reddish Egret does.
And even the gator got into the act lunging for a fish…he missed but Connie got the action water splash shot.
As well as the Black Crowned Night Heron yakking at something or other.
Moving along…a fellow bird photographer pointed out this Barred Owl to Neil.
They stood there watching for a few minutes hoping it would do something…the other fellow gave up and headed out and not 30 seconds later the action unfolded as it swooped down to snatch up some tasty morsel.
Meanwhile…Connie spotted the vulture chick…or whatever you call them…it didn’t fly at our approach so obviously there’s a nest in that tree and it hasn’t fledged yet. Not sure if it’s a Turkey Vulture or Black Vulture though, couldn’t get a good enough look to tell and no adults around to identify by the red or black head,
Another Great Egret
Another bromeliad by Connie
White Ibis again
And some strange flower bud/seed pod like things as we got back out into the open area again on the way back.
And a bunch more of the Swallow Tailed Kites orbiting over the grassy area…you can see the tail which gives it the name and this particular one is carrying some take out breakfast…not sure why it didn’t go perch someplace and eat but it buzzed by us 3 or 4 times before heading out.
Connie snagged these lizards…although technically they’re skinks and not lizards…and I have no idea what makes them a skink and not a lizard.
Connie has told me that the first two are anoles or lizards of some sort and the last one is the only one that’s a skink…and Ima not gonna argue with her about it…’specially since I have very little detailed understanding of the differences between lizards, skinks, anoles, legless snakes, and anything else that looks like a lizard. To me…they’re all lizards…but then Ima bear so in my view they’re all a snack anyway.
And some bees on a flower.
Right before we got back to the visitor center she spotted these flowers and then the squirrel running by…it was literally running down the hand rail on the boardwalk right by her…this was one of those slam bam thank you ma’am sort of shots and she was amazed it turned out.
And with that we got back to the visitor center and thence the car…and we were glad because we were hot and tired.
Interesting things found on the net,
Speaking of owls…this shows you how much of what you see is owl…and how much is just feathers.