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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Leapin' Limpkins

We visited Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, in FL. today with some friends. Corkscrew is a preserve with a 2.25 mile long boardwalk that takes you through a prairie, cypress forest and marsh with excellent views of wildlife such as, herons, warblers, vireos, and marsh birds.
As we entered the cypress forest we heard some incredible screams, what we knew to be the calls of a Limpkin. We sped over to where the sounds were coming from and saw two Limpkins mating in some distant trees. One stayed in the trees, and the other came and fed right in front of where we were standing. Lucky us! Limpkins are often hard to find. These large, brown, heron-like birds have special bills that allow them to feed on snails. This one actively hunted in the marsh vegetation, raising its wings after a short hop.
Corkscrew is famous for the endangered Wood Storks that feed and nest there. Wood Storks have rather prehistoric looking heads, but beautiful white feathers with black edges to their wings. One flew over as we looked up.

In the marsh a little Yellow-rumped Warbler landed on a leaf. You can see the yellow rump and also white spots on the outer tail feathers. Yellow-rumps overwinter here and eat insects and berries. We saw many other herons, warblers, Gray Catbirds, titmice, Carolina Wrens, Eastern Phoebes and more, but the highlight was the Limpkin.

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