On the cusp of a new season at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Eulophia alta, a terrestrial
orchid, still in flower.

Alligators were not in sight, but orchids were plentiful last weekend in Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The November blue sky overhead was filled with the delicate sounds of warblers, periodic announcements from red-shouldered hawks and the occasional crank of an egret.

We spotted Eulophia alta next to the boardwalk as we crossed the open, sunny prairie between pineland and cypress. Full of seedpods, the Eulophia’s last flowers were damaged but recognizable.  The spike rose about 2 1/2 feet above the grassy leaves. The flowers are supposed to resemble a donkey braying, but our donkey was missing an ear.

Next, we discovered a tiny Encyclia tampensis, its round pseudobulbs and leaves quite red from living in full sun. And the really tiny


The delicate flower of the
alligator flag.

yellow-green flowers of Epidendrum rigidum were next.Flowers remained on the tattered

Fall in the swamp means
red maple leaves.

alligator flags, the goldenrod, and primrose willow, pickerelweed, sagittaria and swamp lilies.

Adding color: monarch and queen butterflies, skippers, an argiope spider of awesome dimensions, dahoon holly fruit and red maple leaves. 

Every season shows us something new.