Nature Walks, 14 Feb 2018 – Love is in the Air
The last two walks I went out, there wasn’t much to photograph, whether it was the weather or the animals were just making themselves scarce. Today was different. I’ve been slowly recuperating from the flu so am careful not to overextend, but for some reason, I decided to add a mile to my little walk. And was rewarded for my efforts by seeing one of the largest alligators at Wakodahatchee crawl across one of the berms. He was majestic, huge, powerful…and moving pretty fast but several of us got photos and a thrill to see such an ancient-looking beast in action.
No, the alligators weren’t “in love”, but the Wood Storks… well, let’s say there was plenty of feather fluffing, jumping up and down, bill-clacking and posturing as stork mates were prepping for the season. The Wood Storks at Wakodahatchee are a success story in the making. They’re the only stork in North America and have been on the endangered list. This season, there are even more nest sites and storks than there was last year — they’ve taken up residence in several pond apple trees sited around the wetlands. The stoic white and black-feathered birds are making and raising lots of babies.
Another species that is doing well is the non-native Green Iguana. On one pond apple tree alone I spied out at least ten grayish-colored iguanas and one large male.
I saw a photographer intently staring into the marsh plants and casually glanced over his shoulder. There was a Black-crowned Night Heron fishing. The above photograph is a bit blurry as my camera focused on the plants, not the bird. These birds are very shy and usually come out at dusk; it’s rare to see them out in broad daylight. Another lucky find!
Due to the influx of Wood Storks, many of the other birds seemed to have been pushed aside, but when you look carefully, there are still plenty of herons, egrets, cormorants, anhingas, ducks and tiny songbirds whose flitting movements through the branches defeat the attempts of most photographers to capture their images on “film”.
So much for my outing on Valentine’s Day, with plenty of love in the air, on the water, in the water, on the branches and all around.
Happy Love Day to all my readers!
“Sunny” VaCoupe (aka Eliza Ayres)
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