Freedom Park, the next best thing to Corkscrew

Collier County Audubon-Feathers and Friends Updates

For three hours this morning, October 31, 2009, I birded with Alan Murray at Collier County's newest park -- Freedom Memorial Park, which is located near the intersection of Goodlette-Frank Rd. & Golden Gate Parkway in Naples. Encompassing some 50 acres with over a mile of super-wide boardwalk built out of tropical Ipe wood (Tabebuia serratifolia), there are portions of the park that rival the famous Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, which also has a boardwalk built from the same wood. Native trees and plants abound in the park and attract many species of birds, butterflies and other fauna. Collier County bought the land for the park for $19.2 million in 2004. Crews worked for 17 months to build the park at a cost of $12.3 million, according to county figures. I highly recommend this park to other birders both local and those visiting from afar. For me, it was like discovering a new birding area right in my back yard! The park has great potential for attracting migrants in spring and fall. Of the 38 or so species of birds Alan and I saw today, there were a few surprises: a rather late Yellow-billed Cuckoo (the latest one I've seen in Collier County), both Indigo & Painted Buntings, Ruby-throated Hummingbird & Blue-headed Vireo among them. Here is our list of birds seen this morning at Freedom Memorial Park:

Muscovy Duck
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Little Blue Heron
Tricolored Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron (seen by Alan outside the perimeter of the park as it flew across Goodlette-Frank Rd.) White Ibis (Seen by me before Alan arrived) Wood Stork Black Vulture Osprey Red-shouldered Hawk American Kestrel Mourning Dove Yellow-billed Cuckoo Ruby-throated Hummingbird Belted Kingfisher Red-bellied Woodpecker Downy Woodpecker Loggerhead Shrike Blue-headed Vireo Blue Jay Fish Crow Carolina Wren House Wren Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Gray Catbird Northern Mockingbird European Starling Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler Yellow-throated Warbler Palm Warbler (Western race) Black-and-white Warbler Common Yellowthroat Northern Cardinal Indigo Bunting Painted Bunting Common Grackle Boat-tailed Grackle

Also seen were the following Lepidoptera (Butterflies & Moths):

Orange-barred Sulphur (Phoebis philea)
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
Barred Yellow (Eurema daira)
Queen (Danaus gilippus)
Monarch (Danus plexippus)
Cassius Blue (Leptotes cassius)
White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae)
Tropical Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus oileus) Brazilian Skipper (Calpodes ethlius) Rattlebox Moth or Bella Moth (Utetheisa ornatrix) -- diurnal

Odonata (Dragonflies & Damselflies):

Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) Roseate Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea) Needham's Skimmer (Libellula needhami) Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina) Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata) Four-spotted Pennant (Brachymesia gravida) Rambur's Forktail (Ischnura ramburii)


Vincent Lucas
Naples, FL

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