Nature Walks – Wakodahatchee Nesting Season

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Great Egret in breeding colors (green @ eyes)

Nature Walks – Wakodahatchee Nesting Season

One learns about Nature through observations made over the long-term, following seasons and cycles, drought and heat, wet and humid, wind and rain.  Since arriving in South Florida nearly a year ago, I’ve spent a little time in the local wetland preserves each week.  Lately, I’ve observed the changes in coloring in some of the birds.  The changes can be subtle or quite marked.  Some birds, like the tall stoic Wood Storks, don’t seem to change coloring but do change their behaviors, becoming more affectionate and attentive to their chosen mates.  The herons seem to take on a change of color around the eyes and upper beaks.  This morning, I noticed some Tri-colored Herons in breeding colors, having a beautiful blue color around the eyes.  The Great Egret takes on a green color around the eyes and so on.

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Painted Bunting male – a winter visitor

Babies are still being made, while some babies have already hatched.  I saw a couple of  Great Blue Heron fledglings just holding their fuzzy heads above the branches of their nest.  Most birds have gone into the breeding cycle, with Anhingas, Wood Storks, Egrets and Herons often sharing the same pond apple trees.

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This Purple Gallinule was busy picking and eating the tender shoots on the bottom of these reeds.

The people who visit the wetlands can also be a source of amusement.  I overheard one woman pointing out a nesting Cattle Egret while telling her friend that it was a baby Wood Stork.  No… a breeding Cattle Egret has a golden head and back like this one.  In a month or so… certainly by April, it will be quite evident that the young Wood Storks are considerably larger and noisier than the small Cattle Egrets.  I don’t even consider myself an expert on birds, but I have managed to learn a few things in the space of ten months.

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Great Blue Heron family

Here are some more photos from today’s walk:

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Wood Stork in search of soft nesting materials. These birds stand 40″ tall.

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A lively marsh resident — the Red-winged Blackbird

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Tri-colored Heron in breeding colors (blue on beak)

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Busy Glossy Ibis

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Another Tri-colored Heron in breeding colors

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The only North American stork species, the Wood Stork.

That’s all for now, folks.  Enjoy your weekend.  And all those who are having some really cold weather and storms this weekend in the NE and Europe, keep warm and safe!

Namaste,

Eliza/Sundeelia

© All Rights Reserved, Elizabeth Ayres Escher, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

 

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