Dick said he had something special to show us. He pointed to something that appeared to be off in the distance and asked if we could see the jingle bell orchid. We all looked. No one could see it.
Those seedpods gave it it’s name – jingle bell orchid. In the continental US, you’ll only find this orchid in southern Florida.
We were intent on observing the swamp habitat. Dick, our guide, led the hike, but everyone was watching and that led to so many more wonderful sightings. Someone in the group spotted an almost 5-foot long Southern black racer snake. We watched from the boardwalk as it slithered off behind a nearby tree. Dick showed us the largest ghost orchid discovered in the world – though we are sad to say it wasn’t currently in bloom. He also showed us apple snail shells and blood lichens.
Where were the birds? As the sun rose higher and the air warmed, the birds started to appear. Often they were hard to spot.
We ended up seeing 4 species of birds that we’d never seen before and over 30 species total. That was a good morning for us! Could we have seen most of those many wonderful things on our own? Never.
Dick told us that, in past years, so many visitors had complained as they left Corkscrew that they didn’t see anything at all so the Sanctuary greatly increased the number of guided walks.