Snappin' Critters

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

After the first section of boardwalk, you'll be in one of the shadiest places in Florida. However, this bald cypress forest is notable for more than its comfortable climate: it is the largest remaining subtropical stand of old growth bald cypress anywhere in the world. As such, the trees hold a rich variety of native orchids, ferns, and bromeliads that are eminently photographable every day of the year.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, owned and operated by the National Audubon Society, is also world famous for its winter colony of nesting wood storks (the largest nesting colony in the United States). February is usually the best month to photograph the storks on their nests. You'll need a tripod and a long lens for the best possible pictures.

The rest of the year, the two-mile boardwalk will take you over and through a tremendous range of habitat, including wet prairie, marsh, and pinelands. In spring and fall, you should see migratory warblers and other songbirds. But don't look only skyward: gators, limpkins, river otters, and turtles are present every month. Incidentally, you won't have a big problem with mosquitoes thanks to the resident schools of mosquito fish that dine on the annoying bloodsuckers.

Operating hours vary seasonally: from 7 am to 5 pm December through April; From 8 am to 5 pm May through November. The swamp is located off SR 846 between Ft. Myers and Naples; look carefully for the sanctuary signs. Call the sanctuary office at 941/657-3771 for complete information.

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