Panther Island Adventures!

Panther Island is 2,800 acres of restored wetland and upland habitats situated in the northwest corner of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary's 13,000 acres. It is home to numerous plants and animals including the Florida panther and the iconic wood stork.
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Wildlife from the Bird Survey...

Eastern Cottontail rabbits off the side of the road.

I was trying to sneak closer for a better shot and spooked these birds foraging in the shallow wetlands. There are two species here, the ones higher up are glossy ibis and the other two are Sandhill Cranes!

Bird of the Week for October 26: Eastern Meadowlark

The melodious call of the Eastern Meadowlark is one of my favorite sounds at Panther Island. Even the most tiring day can be brightened by these pretty birds. These birds are found in open grassy habitats (such as fields, prairies, and meadows) and eats  insects and seeds. The females build the nests by themselves on the ground by weaving grasses into the surrounding vegetation. Now I typically hears these guys before I see them, but once I hear them, I can zone in on where they are. And often I see one perched on top a tree in an open field or even precariously swaying on the top of a grass mound!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bird Monitoring Project

Last week, I began a series of "point count surveys." Basically I go out just before sunrise and I go to the same 6 points and walk the same route between these points 2-4 times in a year. And at each point, I write down all the birds I see and hear and distances from me to these birds in a 5 minutes period. It is really difficult to learn all of the birdsongs and little noises birds make, but the view is amazing! I got this shot just as I was starting the survey.

I also came across a garter snake in the road at the very end of the survey.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bird of the week: October 19, 2009

          This little bird entertains me year-round. I often see them in my mesic and hydric pine flatwoods as well as flitting around the cypress swamps. I love watching them forage for insects, insect eggs and even insect larvae! Have you ever watched a bird hunting insects? It can be hard to follow them because they can move so rapidly after their prey. They are such adept little flyers they even take insects on the wing. One of my goals this year is to photograph a nest. They make little cup nests out of materials like grass, leaves and spider silk and often cover them with lichens. Both parents help with incubation which takes 13 days, and then both parents help to feed the young over the next 2 weeks. If you look closely, you can see the white eye-ring which can help you tell this little songbird apart form others. Hopefully you'll see one of these guys in your neck of the woods soon!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sunflowers Galore!

Fall at Panther Island brings fields of sunflowers blooming. Their scent floats softly on the breezes, and the sunflowers feed small birds and mammals. It seems each year there are larger fields of these happy bright flowers. And I look forward to their return every year!