On Friday, visitor and photographer Bill Grabinski noticed an egret that was entangled in fishing line.
Fortunately, Kathleen Smith, FWC biologist for the CREW Project, was on site at Bird Rookery Swamp and was able to assist. She noted that someone had cut their fising line and the hook was on the bird’s leg, and the line was entangled on the shore. When the bird would attempt to fly away, it would be yanked back. She was able to untangle the bird from the line and release it.
Mr. Grabinski captured the rescue in the photos below.
Long-time CREW Trust volunteer naturalist Dick Brewer is a treasure-trove of information and brilliant citizen scientist. This week’s critter count includes a chicken turtle, almost 30 red-bellied woodpeckers and a great photo of two crested caracaras. Interested in making your own critter count during your next hike? Print out Dick’s BIRD ROOKERY SWAMP Wildlife Checklist and take it with you!
Bird Rookery Swamp
Wednesday, December 19 ~~ 7:05 AM – 1:00 PM
temperature: 54.0-76.0º ~~ RH 85.5-60.5%
sky: sun early, clouds late ~~ wind: calm at start, then 8-12 mph
Our volunteer naturalist of many years, Dick Brewer, is well known on our website, blogs and social media for his hours of work as a citizen scientist in the field and for his almost-weekly critter counts.
Now you, too, can complete a critter count! Even if you aren’t quite sure what animals are out there.
Dick has combed through years of observations by himself and others and created two wildlife checklists: one for Bird Rookery Swamp and one for the Cypress Dome Trails. The lists have everything from alligators to skippers, bitterns to bats. Check them out and print a copy for your next visit to the trails!
Volunteer George Luther mowed the trail to marker #2 (mile 1.3) and noted that the ground is soft but not muddy. Volunteer naturalist Dick Brewer hiked a portion of the loop and has shared his wildlife count from the day.
For me, it started with something as simple as an odd bird call.
We heard the loud call at dusk and tiptoed into the backyard. I turned on my phone to record the sound and shushed the kids, afraid we would scare away the bird.
(apologies for the video being sideways- I was a bit excited)
A quick text to a birding friend revealed it was a Chuck-will’s-widow and, while it was new to us, it wasn’t as uncommon as we thought. A little curiosity about our backyard resident led to a bit of research and learning for our family. I added the bird to my lifetime birding list (which is admittedly shorter than I’d like it to be). The experience certainly meant something to my family but, beyond observation, would it count to anyone else?
Making our wildlife observations count is the topic of the CREW Trust’s final Strolling Science Seminar this season. Dr. Win Everham will lead us along the trail at Bird Rookery Swamp in Naples for a hands-on learning experience.
Our everyday observations can be scientific and can help conservation efforts. It’s just a matter of knowing how.
One of our volunteers, Tom Mortenson, wanted to learn more about the wildlife in his new Florida home. He set up game cameras, similar to those he had up north, on parts of the CREW Project. That led to his first images of Florida panthers and he now submits the data he collects to the FWC panther biologists. His curiosity led to his contributions as a citizen scientist.
From backyard calls to uncommon sightings, your observations count.
Want to learn how you can also be a citizen scientist? Join us on April 29 at 9 a.m. Tickets are $15 for members, $25 for non-members, and must be purchased in advance (eventbrite.com).
Bird Rookery Swamp observations
Saturday, December 5 6:30 am–1:05 pm
“Cloudy skies and light rain all morning should have made sightings rather slim, and it did for butterflies, dragonflies, mammals, and herps. However, it was a great day for birds with 42 species seen and identified.
A 6:30 start in the parking lot caught a lot of the early birds flying in and out from their night time roosts. We were up to 25 species before we reached the start of the boardwalk.
The large flocks of White Ibis and other waders including three Roseate Spoonbills; Wood Storks; Little Blue, Great Blue, Black-crowned Night and Tri-colored Herons; Great and Snowy Egrets all flew in within 15 minutes of each other. A Barred Owl called from deeper in the cypress while Goldfinches, Common Yellowthroats, Cardinals, a House Wren, and Palm Warblers were active in the shrubby vegetation to the west of the parking lot and gravel path.
A quartet of Pied-billed Grebes swam, dove, and preened in the canal beside the gravel path while Red-shouldered Hawks and a trio of Double-crested Cormorants flew over. It was a great way to begin the day.
One pocket of small birds a little later included a Black-and-white Warbler, a Yellow-throated Warbler, several Yellow-rumped Warblers, lots of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and a few woodpeckers. The most unexpected avian sighting was a Cooper’s Hawk that flew over while we were watching a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks.
The only mammals we saw were a Raccoon and a River Otter, plus several Gray Squirrels. Due to the inclement weather, we could only find 18 gators. Other herps were a Red-bellied Turtle and Green and Brown Anoles.
Butterflies were limited because of the weather, too. We only found eight species. The Long-tailed Skipper in the photo was one of two seen. White Peacocks were again the most common with 47 individuals counted, followed by 11 Barred Yellows.
Even with the rain and cloudy skies, visitors still came. Most were bicyclists, but one early jogger did the entire 12-mile loop. Walkers didn’t appear until late morning and early afternoon. Ida was in her pond but floating in the back next to the raft”.
Pied-billed Grebe – 4
Anhinga – 10
Double-crested Cormorant – 3
Great Blue Heron – 6
Great Egret – 15
Snowy Egret – 2
Little Blue Heron – 11
Tri-colored Heron – 4
Green Heron – 4
Black-crowned Night Heron – 13
White Ibis – 81
Roseate Spoonbill – 3
Wood Stork – 3
Black Vulture – 19
Turkey Vulture – 48
Red-shouldered Hawk – 13
Cooper’s Hawk – 1
Mourning Dove – 26
Common Ground Dove – 2
Barred Owl – 1
Belted Kingfisher – 6
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 16
Downy Woodpecker – 4
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
Pileated Woodpecker – 3
Eastern Phoebe – 8
Great-crested Flycatcher – 5
Tree Swallow – 1
Carolina Wren – 9
House Wren – 2
Tufted Titmouse – 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 9
American Robin – 3
Gray Catbird – 21
Blue-headed Vireo – 2
Black-and-white Warbler – 1
Yellow-throated Warbler – 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler – 5
Palm Warbler – 12
Common Yellowthroat – 5
Northern Cardinal – 8
Common Grackle – 23
American Goldfinch – 2