birding in naples

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary at Naples, Florida

Corkscrew swamp

Blair Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

What I really like about this time of year is while I am wandering off to look for Wood Storks at the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, buyer’s agents in Sacramento are hard at work showing my listings. I’ve already slipped one transaction into escrow and have received 2 offers on another — I’m kissing my cellphone right now and leaving little smudgy lip marks.

Ibis eating a bug

White Ibis Eating a Swamp Bug

People ask me why I like to focus on sellers, and this is why. If I do my job correctly, and I do, it comes back ten-fold. Instead of fumbling with lockboxes and doors that stick, I am flipping the auto switch on my Nikon to manual and adjusting the focus on that White Ibis, also known as the Chokoloskee Chicken. Their long bills allow them to dig into the mucky floor of the swamp to find bugs. In fact, this White Ibis is enjoying a tasty snack in the photo to the right. Yum. Swamp bugs. Have you had breakfast yet?

Red bellied woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Many other types of wildlife live in the Corkscrew Swamp — which is actually named after a river because of the way the river winds and is today called by another name. Some of the bald cypress trees are more than 500 years old. Plus, there are wild orchids. The famous ghost orchid lives in this swamp, about 60 feet up in trees; although they are not blooming this time of year. How do you like my Red-Bellied Woodpecker, though? Well, he’s not actually mine, or he would have a name. I would call him Henry.

Now, you may think that you will never flock to birds and become a birder when you grow older, and I have news for you. This doesn’t happen to a person when she gets old, necessarily, because my husband’s and my love for birding happened a long time ago, once we realized that all of those birds flying through our backyard when we lived in Minneapolis were not brown but instead were all kinds of different colors because, guess what, they were different birds!

Hog nose turtle

Florida Soft Shell Turtle

I also happened upon a turtle in the swamp. Usually, when you approach a turtle, they quickly vanish into the water. If they are sleeping on a log, like a group of turtles we tried to photograph once in Ecuador, they splash into the water by falling over backwards or any which way just to disappear. This turtle has a nose like a pig. Its name is the Florida Soft Shell Turtle. But you know me, I would call her Sharon.

Not that I know any Sharons, mind you.

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