5. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Florida
South of Fort Myers, Florida, the National Audubon Society’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary protects the country’s largest remaining stand of virgin bald cypress and features a two-mile boardwalk that lures our readers time and time again. And why not? Corkscrew is home to Limpkins and Swallow-tailed Kites, and this year, Wood Storks are visible from the boardwalk.
“Whenever my husband Jack and I are in Florida, no matter how far we are from Corkscrew, we save a day to walk its boardwalk,” says Arnalee Shackelford of Grand Rapids, Michigan. “That may be because on our first visit there, several years ago, we picked up four life birds before we were less than half through our trek. And because, on every visit since, we’ve seen a bird that thrills us.”
Laure Neish of Penticton, British Columbia, spent a day at Corkscrew recently and can’t wait to go back. “Even more remarkable than the bird sightings here are the bird photo opportunities available at the swamp,” she writes. “Birds such as the normally secretive American Bittern and the colorful White Ibis were perched or feeding just a few feet from the boardwalk. Human presence (and it was considerable) did not seem to disturb them. I would love to return, armed with many more rolls of film and with time to just observe.”
Location: In southwest Florida, 16 miles east of Fort Myers Beach • Best time to visit: March and April for nesting season, but birding is good at Corkscrew year-round • Birds: Wood Stork, Swallow-tailed Kite, Red-shouldered Hawk, songbirds, and waders • Contact: Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, (239) 348-9151