Visit the Swamp Now & Later

The News Press wrote an article about the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary this weekend. The main idea of the article focuses on the boardwalk tours and after hours events planned at the sanctuary over the next few months. There’s an underlying idea as well – go now, before all the tourists come back.

I say, do both.

Migratory birds return to Corkscrew in the winter.
Migratory birds return to Corkscrew in the winter.

Boardwalk volunteer educator Rich Kuntz is right when he says summer months are forgotten times in Florida nature because of the heat and lack of migratory birds. He’s also right that summer is a wonderful time at  Corkscrew.

“Summertime is one of the prettiest times here.”

– Volunteer educator Rich Kuntz

The article talks about the alligators and their young. There’s at least one mother with two babies at the sanctuary right now. Mamma was all the rage with the few visitors walking along the boardwalk last week.

But to forgo winter trips would be a mistake. Winter is when the original snowbirds – migratory egrets and herons – return. Water levels fall in the lettuce lakes and predators such as alligators and panthers become more prevalent. Like beaches and, well, any tourist destination in Southwest Florida, the people return as well. Here’s a few things you can do to enjoy your trip to Corkscrew even if the boardwalk is a bit busy for your taste.

  • Go early or go late – Early in the morning, even on weekends, there’s a smaller crowd. Fewer people means fewer possible distractions for the animals.
  • Make two loops – The lettuce lakes near the end of the 2.25-mile boardwalk are most likely the main attraction for many guests. If they’re packed, keep moving and look for the owls and white-tailed deer just beyond. Go back to the visitor center, then make another loop – through the shortcut – to get back after the crowd dissipates a little bit.
  • Come prepared – It’s a long walk and although there’s a lot of shade it can get hot, even in winter. Have water and adequate sun protection for a few hours.
  • Enjoy yourself – Even if you don’t see everything you expect, enjoy the walk, the sights, and smells of nature.
  • Come back tomorrow – Every admission is god for two days at Corkscrew, so if you have to go on the weekend (because, jobs), make it a Friday night (boardwalk closes at 5:30) or a Saturday so you can make two trips.

So whether you live nearby year-round or part time, get out to Corkscrew Audubon Swamp Sanctuary. You won’t be disappointed.

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