“Below are my observations from today at Bird Rookery Swamp (BRS). Not a bad day for birding, especially with more Barn Swallows over the meadow opposite the start of the boardwalk and a small “flock” of Eastern Kingbirds between markers 6 & 3. Attached is a photo of a Black-and-white Warbler that was prying little insects from bark crevices in a cypress near Ida’s Pond; it has one in its bill. Ida wasn’t visible while either going out or coming back. Several pairs of hikers armed with cameras were on the trails plus two bicyclers; the bikers turned back a little past marker 3 toward marker 6 when the mud got slippery and the water was flowing over the trail. Other than that, a nice day!
Anhinga – 1
Great Blue Heron – 2
Great Egret – 4
Snowy Egret – 9
Little Blue Heron – 11
Tri-colored Heron – 10
Green Heron – 8
White Ibis – 6
Black Vulture – 71
Turkey Vulture – 12
Red-shouldered Hawk – 7
Mourning Dove – 2
Common Ground Dove – 1
Belted Kingfisher – 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 13
Pileated Woodpecker – 5
Great-crested Flycatcher – 2
Eastern Kingbird – 7
Barn Swallow – 46
Blue Jay – 5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 3
Tufted Titmouse – 10
Carolina Wren – 12
Northern Mockingbird – 1
White-eyed Vireo – 13
Prothonotary Warbler – 1
Northern Parula – 1
Black-and-white Warbler – 1
Ovenbird – 1
Louisiana Waterthrush – 1
Northern Cardinal – 12
Common Grackle – 7
Below are first hand observations from our volunteer Dick Brewer. This is a special week as we are luck to get Dick’s observations from all three trail systems. If you would like to see more of his observations visit: http://www.dickbrewer.org/CREW.html
Monday, May 11 Marsh Trails- 6:45 am-8:30 Cypress Dome 8:35am-10:30
Great Egret………………………………………………… 6………………………………………………………………
Black Vulture……………………………………………… 3………………………………………………………….. 25
With rainy season around the corner wildlife tracks will become more visible. Not everyone will see a Florida Panther in their lifetime but they are more likely to come upon their tracks. Though spotting and identifying a track is definitely harder than identifying a Florida Panther itself. Lucky for us FWC came out with a E-Z guide on how to ID panthers and their tracks:
Join us at the 2015 Southwest Florida
Travel Rally in celebration of National
Travel & Tourism Week!
All tourism businesses, hospitality employees, and local residents are invited to attend. Tourism partners, bring your staff to represent your company! Employees, bring your families, too, as there will be lots to do for children and adults. CREW Land & Water Trust donated a free private hike with their Environmental Education Specialist Jessi Drummond for a lucky prize winner.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
RSVP that you are attending: LeeVCB@leegov.com.
We will email you an admission and parking ticket.
You must have an admission ticket to be eligible for
For more information, call Visitor Services
at 239.590.4855 or visit Leevcb.com
Join us at the 2015 Southwest Florida
ENJOY THE HILARIOUS TOURISM RACES
Kids Luggage Lug, Bellman’s Race, Waiters Race for
the Gold, and Make that Bed! Hotels, Attractions, and
Restaurants—have fun with your hospitality friends!
OUTDOOR TRADE FAIR
Tourism businesses, sports groups, special exhibits
KID’S KRAZINESS KORNER
Face painting, magic, cuddly critters, Railroad
Museum of South Florida miniature train rides,
For more information please click on the flyers below:
Q: What should people do if they see a black bear on one of the trails?
A: Florida Black Bears are the only bear species that inhabit Florida. Safety tips are different with different species of bears due to their varying life histories. The following safety tips refer to black bears and not necessarily brown bears, Grizzly bears, or other bear species.
Think of a black bear as a large, stray dog in your neighborhood. Precautions you’d take with a stray dog apply to black bears too. Don’t make direct eye contact (a threat gesture), don’t run, and don’t turn your back to it.
First, make some noise (clapping hands, bell, whistle) so the bear knows that you are there. Surprising any wild animal is not a good thing.
Stand tall and make yourself look larger by raising your hands above your head. Adults should pick up and hold small children.
Then, back away slowly and get a safe distance away from the black bear. Just like dogs, black bears have a chase instinct and will go after something running from them even if they do not mean any harm. Once you are at a safe distance, you can snap a few photos and enjoy the moment.
Black bears in the wild are shy animals and generally not aggressive towards people. Exceptions would be a black bear that is strongly food conditioned and smells any food you are carrying, and a female black bear who is protecting her cubs. If you see a small cub seemingly by itself, back off immediately. The mother black bear is somewhere very close, and she is watching her cub and she is watching you.
A black bear is a large, powerful, wild animal. It pays to be cautious and to not provoke it, so know a little about black bear behavior before meeting one.
If a black bear stands on its hind legs, it’s not a threat; it just wants to get a better look and smell of the situation.
However, stamping its front legs, jaw popping (snapping its jaws together to make a popping noise), huffing (blowing air out of its nose and mouth quickly), or bluff charging (rushing toward a person but stopping before physically making contact) means it is nervous, and you need to back away from the black bear. Allow the black bear plenty of room to escape, which is all it really wants to do.
If a black bear does approach you and attack, hold your ground and fight back.
We had a great Strolling Science Seminar (SSS) series this season (say that 5 times fast). The SSS series started in 2011-2012 to provide adults with scientific knowledge from local experts. The experts engaged the participants in outdoor scientific study and enabled them to conduct citizen science as part of local, national, and global projects. Each event is filled with laughter, science, and new knowledge.
This year we were lucky to have:
Mad Batters of CREW- Kathleen Smith, FWC Biologist
Mosquitoes of the Marsh: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly- Neil Wilkinson, FGCU
Fire & Water: Primal Forces Shaping CREW Wildlife Habitats- Jim Schortemeyer & Joe Bozzo, SFWMD
The Gopher Tortoise: How Protecting One Species Actually Protects Hundreds- Dr. John Herman, FGCU
Birding with the Master- Dr. Bernie Master & Tiffany Thornhill, FWC
We will start planning the 2015-2016 series of strolling science seminars this summer. If you have any ideas, comments, or contacts that you would like to share for a SSS event please email Jessi Drummond at email@example.com, or call 239-657-2253. All ideas are welcomed!
A: Owl eyes are very large. They are so large that they cannot move in their sockets. Imagine having a pair of binoculars up to your eyes and looking straight ahead. If you hear a sound to the side, you can’t see what made it unless you turn your whole head so the binoculars are pointed toward the sound. That’s how an owl sees all of the time.
Without binoculars, you can roll your eyes up or down and move your eyes left or right without moving your head, but an owl can’t. And even when looking forward, owls have a smaller field of vision than people do.
To see what your visual field looks like try this experiment. Hold your arms out with both of your index fingers in front of your nose. While you stare straight ahead, move your arms in an arc toward your sides, still staring forward. When you can no longer see your fingers
stop moving your arms. The arc that your arms made is your visual field and measures approximately 180 degrees.
An owl’s visual field is only about 110 degrees. For an owl to focus well, it must turn its head to get an object into its visual field. In addition, owls often bob their heads up and down to judge distance.
* Over 38,000 visitors to CREW Trails
* Two amazing fundraisers brought in over $30,000
* CREW volunteers donated 3,906 hours
* 4,600 people participated in our environmental education programs
January 2014, the CREW Trust began its 25th anniversary, celebrating 25 years of land conservation and environmental education in southwest Florida. From the kick-off event in frigid cold weather last January to our final #GivingTuesday end-of-year fundraising campaign running through December 31st, this celebration has had something for everyone – a wine & cheese social and a BBQ for CREW members, trail events that included a variety of guided walks about everything from mushrooms to mammals, a geocaching day, a horseback ride through Flint Pen Strand, a guided bicycle ride at Bird Rookery Swamp, a Vitamin N Walk for families, a fabulous 25th anniversary concert featuring the Sarah Hadeka Band and Deb & the Dynamics, and our first #GivingTuesday fundraiser. Thank you to every one of you who volunteered, participated, sponsored, supported, and gave to CREW during 2014, making our 25th anniversary such a success! We look forward to the next 25 years…
This month’s Q & A post by CREW volunteer naturalist Dick Brewer
Q: How can snakes climb up trees?
A: Snakes use “concertina locomotion” to climb trees – the act of gripping with some parts of the body while pulling or pushing with other parts of the body in the general direction of movement. Ripples of muscle travel along the snake’s length while the spaces in between
Concertina locomotion is very irregular and appears to be quite strenuous. So, it takes snakes much longer to climb a tree than they could move on the ground or in the water.
This push/pull motion is made possible by scales that are keeled, or ridged. Think of the keel on the bottom of a boat. Unlike smooth scales, keeled scales have raised ridges on the center of each scale which enables the snake to get a grip on rough surfaces, much like a tire with a good tread grips the road better than a bald tire.
Snakes cannot stick to smooth walls the way insects and lizards often do; the snake must have something for the keel to rest on in order to push up. So working in concert with the body muscles, the keeled scales lodged in bark crevices help the snake push against the bark on the tree and inch upward. And yes, sometimes snakes do lose their grip and fall out of a tree.
All snakes either have smooth or keeled scales, and one way to distinguish is that smooth scales typically reflect light, making the color pattern of these snakes shiny, glossy, or iridescent, whereas keeled scales tend to make snakes appear dull and non-reflective because of the raised ridge. Because snakes climb with their bellies to the tree trunk, the scales on their undersides of some snakes may be keeled while the scales on the topside may not be.
A Florida black bear was sighted at Bird Rookery Swamp today by CREW volunteer George Luther as he worked to remove some downed trees off the trails. The bear was seen twice within 30 minutes along the grassy tram trail.
So next time you are there, be on the look out for these magnificent creatures who make their home in Bird Rookery Swamp.
Have you seen a bear on the CREW Trails? Tell us when and where.