Nature Walks – Oh, my!


Nature Walks – Oh, my!

Iguanas, alligators, and baby birds!  These things I saw and more when I ventured out for my first bird walk since last week.  I’ve been in the process of healing from a back injury which has sidelined me somewhat.  I still wake up in the middle of the night and have to adjust my position due to pain throbbing in the back.  Still, I have improved a great deal since last week when I could hardly walk.


So… at Wakodahatchee, the Double-Crested Cormorant fledglings are getting bigger by the day.  As I passed by a Custard Apple cluster holding several nests, the babies were quiet; apparently, I had missed the earlier feeding time.


The Great Blue Heron couples are still building nests and preparing for their families.  One female rejected the branch that her mate brought with a flurry of her great wings.  Later on, he was still attempting to pluck living boughs from a Custard Apple to present to his mate.


With the help of another birdwatcher, I spied a shy Black-crowned Night Heron tucked away in the shadow of a clump of Custard Apple trees.


Then, there was the presence of colorful iguanas… all over the place, hanging from trees, nibbling leaves, waiting for distracted adults to leave the nest long enough to grab an unhatched egg, lolling in the sunshine, lording over a small island (yes, evidently they can swim!).


And there was the joyful cry/song of the osprey as a pair flew with the black buzzards high overhead, a sweeping dance across the blue skies.  I love the Ospreys here.  There is a couple that nest not far from where I live.  For some unknown reason, just hearing their cry makes me feel reassured and happy inside.


As my eyes scanned the brown waters of the marsh, I spied the distinctive ridges and lumps of an alligator’s back and head above the surface, resting a short way from the cormorant island.  And later, I saw the largest alligator in the preserve, “Big George”, leisurely swimming through the water in another lagoon.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Nesting Anhingas. The male is black.
Snowy Egret
Tri-colored Heron. Note the distinctive white belly.
Grooming Anhinga, displaying its distinctive snake-like neck and sharp beak.

All these sights and sensations as I was wading my way past and around assorted “snowbirds” who have arrived in South Florida for the winter months.  The boardwalk resounds with New York, New Jersey, and Ohio (?) accents.  I catch a few phrases in French or Chinese, foreign visitors perhaps?  All of this while spending an hour or so walking a boardwalk in a small preserve in South Florida.

Enjoy your upcoming holiday celebrations!


Eliza Ayres

© All Rights Reserved, Eliza Ayres,

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