Kites in the sky

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Swallow-tailed kites have left the skies over Florida, sailing for the tropics. I look forward to their return in the spring.

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Sandhill crane

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Sandhill crane, Grus canadensis, on the edge of a citrus grove. The hollow, rattling call is pleasant reminder that the Florida backcountry is brimming with life.

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birds in flight

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Wood storks, White ibis, and Roseate spoonbills on the wing above a wet marsh in the Corkscrew backcountry.

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Corkscrew boardwalk

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Clearing fog reveals a quiet morning along the boardwalk.

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Dahoon holly

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Crimson-red berries nestled among waxy green leaves sparkle on a Dahoon holly, growing plentiful among the ferns and cypresses of Corkscrew swamp.

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fog on the boardwalk

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Early morning along the boardwalk, birdsong in the canopy, leaves catching the fog, creating little rainfalls that patter down to cool a waking swamp.

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Scarlet hibiscus

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Scarlet hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus) grows in wet soil to 6-8 feet in height. Deep glossy-red flowers can be eight to twelve inches across. A beautiful accent among all the lush green of Florida’s wetlands.

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Red-shouldered hawk

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I think Red-shouldered hawks have lost their fear of me here at Corkscrew, waiting patiently for my walking to disturb some lizard, or frog, or snake, at which they will swoop past to snatch in an instant. They watch with that piercing gaze, and cry if I stop to appreciate their beauty. So I keep moving.

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Pine flatwoods in SW Florida

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Not all of Corkscrew is a swamp. Pine flatwoods in Corkscrew Sanctuary consist of palmettos, palms and pines. The habitat supports deer, bear, hogs, bobcats and panthers. Periodic fires keep this habitat healthy, burning excess underbrush and returning nutrients to the soil. The tall slash-pines have developed a resistance to the fast-burning fires.

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Pileated woodpecker

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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. A Pileated woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus, on full alert along the Corkscrew boardwalk.

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