Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Green Swamp - Should Hunting Be Allowed Here?

Editor's note: Thanks to the dedicated and ongoing efforts of people like Lorraine, the Hampton Tract is currently being recommended for no expanded hunting. However, there is one more public meeting where comments will be heard on Hampton and three other tracts. This post is a tribute to the fact that your voice counts. The following two links will take you to the SWFWMD's page on the hunting evaluation process and the specifics for the next meeting: http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/hunt_evaluation.php

The next meeting is set for December 5th: http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/news/article/1735/

Chipping sparrow in the Green Swamp, Hampton Tract
The Green Swamp, a huge Southwest Florida Water Management District property holding purchased over time for aquifer recharge and conservation is probably the second most important property collection in the state after the Everglades.  The Hampton tract is one of the newer acquisitions, not many of you know it, but my husband Don and I got to know a bit of it and to experience the beauty and importance of this magnificent 11,000 acres recently.

We have requested a permit to perform an avian survey on the tract in January. Paul Elliot, the land manager was our expert guide to the property.  Mr. Elliot is probably the most knowledgeable person that I have ever met as a land manager; his institutional knowledge and understanding of linked ecosystems and the creatures that they host is astounding and to be treasured. Some places MUST remain a refuge without undue disturbance, and the Hampton tract is one of them.  It is now at risk to being opened to season-long hunting under the hunting evaluation process that Swiftmud (SFWMD) is currently engaged in.

American Robin

There were hundreds and hundreds of American Robins at the Hampton Tract today, (Nov. 19th) feeding to restore themselves after a long migration to their winter home here.

Swallow-Tailed kites and Southeastern American Kestrel nest here!

We weren’t even actively birding for real because we were trying to learn the paths and habitat in order to plan our survey. But we got some great birds without even trying.

Elliotts aster - Symphyotrichum elliottii, near the pit. A wonderful native fall wildflower. What glory...beautiful masses of lavender flowers. I’m in love with this place!

Eastern Phoebe enjoying the tranquility of Cypress Swamp


 
See my husband Don's eBird list (a neat electronic reporting system for tracking bird populations)  below the pics, and remember, we weren't birding, we were learning.......but trust me, come January this bird list will most certainly be greatly enhanced by our survey teams!!!







Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


 When you look up through the Bald Cypress canopy in the Green Swamp Hampton Tract, the world is at peace. We were privileged to be shown an incredible bromeliad-laden cypress dome swamp reminiscent of visions in the Fakahatchee Strand. Sacred land where the creatures around you know they are safe.

What a beautiful place, so pristine in every way.

Let’s keep it that way!

Lorraine Margeson
  


Wouldn't you like to visit this beautiful place? Well, you can! It's on the field trip list for the Florida Native Plant Society's Annual Conference next May. A great, sustainable gift for someone you know? Like you? Check it out: FNPS.org/conference

sue dingwell
roving blogger

Don's e-bird list:

Hampton Tract, Polk, US-FL
Nov 19, 2011 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Protocol: Traveling
12.0 mile(s)
37 species

Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)  3
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)  11
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  8
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)  2
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  2
Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata)  1
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)  6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  2
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  11
White-eyed Vireo (Vireo griseus)  1
Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius)  1
Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)  3
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  8
Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)  4
Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)  19
Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla)  3
Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus)  4
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)  5
Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis)  3
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris)  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  6
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  400
Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)  3
Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia)  2
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)  6
Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum)  19
Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus)  4
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  24
Prairie Warbler (Setophaga discolor)  2
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina)  8
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)  5
Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum)  1
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  4
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)  4
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  3

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

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