A View of Bird Rookery Swamp- May 2, 2015

Below are first hand observations from our volunteer Dick Brewer. Who does weekly visits to Bird Rookery Swamp and very week sends us incredible stories of the magical 12 mile loop. If you would like to see more of his observations visit: http://www.dickbrewer.org/CREW.html
barred owl
By Dick Brewer
“Water levels are down more, even after the recent rains. Consequently, gator and wading bird numbers are down too. 

One Roseate Spoonbill spent most of the day at Ida’s Pond, so visitors coming in had a spoonbill, Banded Water Snake, gators, Anhingas, Red-bellied Turtle, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, and Great Egrets to greet them.

The “hot spot” for the day was past marker 2 where the barbed wire fence ends and a service road splits to the left. There’s a depressionnat the junction of the main tram and the service road where a River Otter spent time catching and eating Crayfish that were left. A young
Barred Owl was in a cypress overhead, and while I was talking with four women who were enjoying the otter and owl, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo called from behind us. Later, hikers and bikers all commented about the otter and owl, so it was a great day for everyone.

The tram between markers 6 and 3 hasn’t been mowed recently, so the higher grasses are attracting lots of butterfly species, especially skippers”.

By Dick Brewer

Bird Rookery Swamp observations
Saturday, May 2 ~ 7:15 am-1:30 pm

Anhinga – 11
Great Blue Heron – 2
Great Egret – 6
Snowy Egret – 4
Little Blue Heron – 3
Tri-colored Heron – 1
Black-crowned Night Heron – 3
White Ibis – 1
Roseate Spoonbill – 1
Wood Stork – 8
Black Vulture – 44
Turkey Vulture – 18
Red-shouldered Hawk – 11
Common Ground Dove – 6
Yellow-billed Cuckoo – 1
Barred Owl – 1
Belted Kingfisher – 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 15
Downy Woodpecker – 2
Pileated Woodpecker – 4
Great-crested Flycatcher – 6
Blue Jay – 2
American Crow – 1
Tufted Titmouse – 7
Carolina Wren – 11
White-eyed Vireo – 14
Northern Cardinal – 23
Common Grackle – 6

Palamedes Swallowtail – 5
Tiger Swallowtail – 1
Zebra Longwing – 2
Ruddy Daggerwing – 7
White Peacock – 58
Red Admiral – 1
Viceroy – 2
Queen – 1
Monarch – 1
Great Southern White – 12
Tropical Checker – 6
Whirlabout – 1
Twin-spotted Skipper – 1
Delaware Skipper – 1

Raccoon – 1
River Otter – 1
White-tailed Deer – 1
Alligator – 84
Brown Anole – 12
Red-bellied Turtle – 7
Banded Water Snake – 1
Pig Frog – 3
Green Treefrog – 5
Cuban Treefrog – 2
Great Blue Skimmer – 1
Needham’s Skimmer – 2
Eastern Pondhawk – 85
Gar – 28

 By Dick Brewer

Great Blue Skimmer
By Dick Brewer

Mosquitoes of the Marsh: A CREW Strolling Science Seminar- December 5th

Join Neil Wilkinson – FGCU instructor and current President of the Florida Mosquito Control Association – for our second strolling science seminar of the season, Mosquitoes of the Marsh: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly – on Friday, December 5th, 9 AM to noon at the CREW Marsh Trails. Registration is required. Register on our Eventbrite page here.

This seminar is about one of Florida’s most famous living creatures – mosquitoes. Learn the life histories of fresh floodwater and natural container species of mosquitoes common to southwest Florida. You will be surprised by the fascinating diversity of species and behaviors. We will begin with samples of adult and larval mosquitoes and learn about their life histories then hike into the preserve to check  for adult mosquitoes caught in traps set the night before. We will use aquatic dip nets to survey for mosquito predators in ditches and depressions and be on the lookout for other amazing wildlife that the CREW marsh protects.

Enhanced knowledge at the species level is the basis for a greater understanding of the whole watershed system. We will have ample time to discuss issues related to controlling mosquitoes, types of control, and consider the impact of NextGen mosquito control products. Mosquito control, like watershed management is a classic environmental science case study. Humans impact the environment, often in harmful ways and as awareness and science progresses new options arise for ameliorating our actions.

Neil Wilkinson

Neil Wilkinson, is an instructor in the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. Wilkinson is currently the president of the Florida Mosquito Control Association. He is an environmental educator with extensive classroom and field teaching experience at the elementary, middle, high, and university levels. He spends half of his time teaching a science outreach program to classes in the local school district. He acts as a liaison between FGCU, the Lee County School District’s Environmental Education Program, and the Lee County Mosquito Control District facilitating interagency cooperative and collaborative efforts among students, faculty, and staff.

Strolling Science Seminars Wrap Up with Pollinators

billY Gunnels leads a Strolling Science Seminar

Our inaugural season of Strolling Science Seminars (SSS) – scholarly hikes for adults – wrapped up on Saturday April 28th with FGCU professor of animal behavior billY Gunnels leading a hike on “Pollinators” at the CREW marsh. Ten folks eagerly listened and asked questions as billY showed various flowers and discussed the enchanting and sometimes puzzling pollinating behaviors of bees, wasps, butterflies, and other insects.

It was a fabulous end to our first-ever SSS series, and we look forward to another great series next fall and winter. If you have suggestions for topics or speakers for our adult-only scholarly science hikes, let us know!

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