During my last trip to southwest Florida I dedicated a visit to the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. This wildlife sanctuary is located just east of Fort Myers and rewards the photographer with a pristine habitat for nature photography. The water in the slough is always on the move although visitors often think of it as an area of small lakes with surrounding swampy areas. In fact though the water always flows like a shallow, slow moving river.
The 1.2 mile boardwalk guides one through different areas of Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. Pine woods lead into the cypress slough that is made of the hardwood transition area, flag ponds area in the center of the preserve and small islands of higher elevation called hammocks. The most visible and beautiful forms of wildlife found in the slough are permanent residents such as raccoon, grey squirrel, five-lined skink, red-shouldered hawk, woodpecker, heron, wild turkey, turtle, southern black racer, branded water snake, cottonmouth and alligator. Visitors that may pass through the slough are bobcat, river otter, deer and even black bear. During my short visit I encountered alligator, turtle, ibis, anhinga, blue heron, green, heron, black crowned night heron, egret and many other birds. Lots of the forest floor is covered with beautiful swamp ferns. Sage old cypress trees tower above and cypress knees that provide the cypress trees with additional support in the wet soil are everywhere.
Gator lake at the beginning of the boardwalk is spectacular in the evening hours. On my way out I stopped at the lake because of the rookery left of the overlook. I again was awarded with a spectacular nature setting. Flocks of egrets and other birds were flying in and landing in the one area of shrubs and trees opposite of the overlook. There were probably a hundred birds looking for a good night sleep.
I certainly will return to the beautiful six mile cypress slough preserve to experience more then the glimpse I got of the mysteries of this swamp.