Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Tel: (941) 348-9151
Owned and managed by the Audubon Society, this 4455 hectare (11,000 acre) sanctuary is a must see, with outstanding opportunities for wildlife photography. Many nature film companies use the boardwalk to film the plants and wildlife inside a cypress swamp. Corkscrew contains the largest remaining stand of old-growth bald cypress in the country. Some of the trees are estimated to be over 500 years old.
A 3-km (2-mile) self-guided boardwalk trail gives you a rare glimpse of South Florida before human settlement. From the boardwalk you get great close-up views of tree ferns, orchids and bromeliads. Alligators, lizards, turtles and Otters are also commonly seen. Over 200 bird species have been seen in the sanctuary, including Swallow-tailed kite, Barred owl, Limpkin, Anhinga, Green Heron, and American Bittern. It is not unusual to see 40 to 50 species of birds in a day.
Corkscrew also has the largest nesting colony of Wood Storks in the US. The Wood Storks usually begin to nest in December, sometimes within full view of the boardwalk. Most nesting lasts from February to May.
The Visitor center has useful free booklets and specific wildlife sightings are posted daily at the beginning of the trail. Helpful volunteers stand at strategic points along the boardwalk, ready to answer almost any wildlife question. Most visitors come between Christmas and Easter, but Corkscrew is a good place to visit at any time of the year. In high summer it is best to be waiting at the door at 7 am when they open the door.
More information on their web site
Corkscrew Swamp web site
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