We spent the final morning back at Corkscrew Swamp as we felt we had unfinished business there, and that if we returned to Bunche that we would simply repeat what we already had. We arrived a little late but nonetheless full of optimism that it would be as excellent as the previous afternoon. It was nothing like it, large parts of the boardwalk trail were completely devoid of birds. We both managed to get a few new shots of different species, improving on the day before, but with the benefit of hindsight we should have gone back to the beach. The images would have been very similar to the previous day, but the countless and continuous opportunities could have resulted in the occasional special shot. Next time that's where we start.
All too soon it was time to head back east to Miami, but we thought we would check out a site on eBird that appeared to have loads of birds as it was on the way. Unfortunately the map I had did not mention that the road we were taking was non-metalled….. It started off OK, but soon reverted to quite deep sand, and a Chevy Camaro has very little off-road capability. I have got a car stuck in mud or sand on almost every single trip I have been on with Mick, generally losing us up to an hour of digging etc, and for a few moments it looked like this would be another one. But there was no turning back, to stop and try and turn would mean getting stuck for sure. I kept the revs up and by some miracle steered a path through the morass without getting stuck, but there were a few points where despite 5000 revs we slowed almost to a stop before thankfully picking up a bit of traction. Meanwhile the car slid all over the place and it was all I could do to stay on the road. Finally the end was in sight, one more deep bit and we were through! And sure enough there was a huge field of birds with precisely zero photo opportunities. More Glossy Ibis together than I have ever seen in one place, and heaps of egrets and peeps feeding in a partially flooded field. We had a brief look, examined the car for signs of damage, and then drove out to the I75.
And that was it! We stopped off for gas and to pack up the gear, returned the car and hit Miami airport. A few hours later I was back at work! It was an excellent trip that could have been a little better – regret not staking out the Owls properly, that’s three trips now where I have not been at Cape Coral at the correct time of day. The trouble is that there is only one dawn and only one late afternoon, and with just three and a half days you don’t want to spend one of those sessions on just one bird. On balance though short trips still work a lot better for me.