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Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary may be closed to visitors, but in nature, things are business as usual. While our staff members are following CDC guidelines and practicing social distancing, only essential field activities, maintenance, and security checks are underway at the Sanctuary. We hope to help you enjoy Corkscrew Sanctuary virtually through these observations shared by field staff.
Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
E-newsletter | March 30, 2020
Florida Bobcat
A Florida Bobcat captured by a trail camera on March 12.
Bobcat Sightings
Checking the water level gauge daily remains an essential activity. While undertaking this effort, Julie, our research intern, was treated to a great view of a bobcat right near the boardwalk! This rarely happens when our boardwalk is active with visitors.

Our research team also continues to download the data from the many trail cameras across the Sanctuary. These data serve a variety of purposes, from providing information about how wildlife respond to land management activities, to documenting prey populations prior to the establishment of Burmese pythons. The cameras are also seeing plenty of bobcat activity this month.
 
Wading birds in a wetland
White Ibises, Great Egrets, and other species congregate in isolated wetlands.
Annual Wetlands Drydown is Underway
March marks the middle of our winter dry season. During the summer rainy season, water fills up shallow wetland depressions before spilling out in broad flat sheets to connect to adjacent wetlands. When the rain stops, generally in November, the water table recedes, eventually re-isolating the wetlands, starting with the shallowest ones first. Fish become trapped in the small pools, and a diverse assortment of wading birds capitalizes on the concentrated fish. This dry-down period typically runs through May, when summer rains resume.
Blackroot, a Florida native plant.
Blackroot, a Florida native plant.
Fire Season Update
Our most recent prescribed fire of the 2019-2020 season was conducted on March 10 across 443 acres of marsh and wet prairie habitats. In total, we conducted six prescribed fires, totaling 1,230 acres. The season began on Dec. 4, in the area where this beautiful Blackroot is now flowering. A member of the Aster family, the Blackroot’s flowers attract many pollinators including a variety of bees and butterflies. It is a deciduous, perennial species that dies back in winter. After it flowers, the fuzzy spikes release ripened seeds.   

Our prescribed fire program was suspended in order to protect staff and volunteers from the threat of COVID-19, as well as to avoid putting additional strain on our local first responders and the Florida Fire Service during these unprecedented times.
screen shot of live stream
A view of a live stream from the Sanctuary on the National Audubon Society's Facebook Page.
Get Your Swamp Fix
Over the weekend, we were pleased to partner with the National Audubon Society to share a live stream from Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary on their Facebook page. The stream continues for nearly half an hour, long enough for viewers from around the country (and some internationally) to watch the color of the light change as the sun rises higher in the morning sky. A heron has flown across the screen; a Northern Parula sings its buzzy call loud enough for all to appreciate. To date, the video was shared more than 1,938 times and was viewed by at least 96,000 people (with nearly 1,000 “live” viewers at any given time). 

In another week or so, more birds will visit this secluded spot, intent on catching fish as the water levels drop. Enjoy – we are planning more videos in the near future.
News & Updates
Education intern AnnaFaith teaches TV viewers about alligators.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in the News
Early this month, we were happy to host a visit with Noelani Matthews from our local FOX-4 news station. Our director and several staff members were interviewed at different locations around the Sanctuary.

Check out the entire broadcast here.

Or, see the individual videos that were also picked up by Yahoo News.

Exploring the Everglades at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Baby Alligator at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Morning Bird Walk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Gardens at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary comprises 13,000 acres of sensitive land owned and protected by the National Audubon Society since 1954. Its renowned 2.25-mile boardwalk winds through the world's largest remaining bald cypress forest. Up until the early 1900's few people outside of southern Florida had ever heard of Corkscrew. Learn more about the history of Corkscrew.
The mission of Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is to protect the natural resources of Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, its surrounding watershed, and the Western Everglades, and to influence Everglades restoration, for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people through land management, science, education, restoration, and public policy advocacy.
DONATE
Now, more than ever, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary needs your support. In March 2019 alone, the Blair Audubon Center welcomed nearly 21,000 visitors. General admission and membership directly support our operations and conservation efforts. Contributions made during this difficult time will lessen the financial impact on the Sanctuary. We thank you in advance for helping us continue to protect birds and the places they need.
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Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
375 Sanctuary Rd., Naples, FL 34120 USA
(239) 348-9151 corkscrew.audubon.org

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