Nature Walks: Early Spring Wetlands

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Green Heron – Wakodahatchee Wetlands Preserve

Nature Walks –  Early Spring Walk in Wakodahatchee Wetlands, April 1, 2019

It was a bright spring morning in Wakodahatchee Wetlands today when I arrived.  I got there while there was still plenty of parking left — which is sometimes an issue.  First thing I noticed, there seemed to be fewer birds nesting close to the boardwalk.  The wading birds and other species favor the pond apple trees in the wetlands for their rookeries.  The first spring I was here, the place was full of birds and quite noisy (and a little smelly) with babies demanding their breakfasts.  Now, the birds have spread out to trees located further away from where the people are.  There was still quite a bit of activity, with birds flying around and diving for their meals.

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Great Blue Heron

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Black-bottomed Whistling Duck

There are several kinds of herons who nest in these wetlands, including the Great Blue Heron, Tri-colored Heron, and the Green Heron (some birders call this American Bittern; I’ve heard both names).  A bit rarer are the Little Blue Heron and the Night Heron, both of which I have seen either in Wakodahatchee or the nearby Green Cay Wetlands.  There are also several Egrets, including the Great Egret, Snowy Egret, and Cattle Egret.  Diving bird species include the Double-Crested Cormorant and the Anhinga.  You can find all of these species nesting together in the pond apple trees, along with the large Wood Storks and their noisy broods.  To add to the show, large Green Iguanas (exotic species) drape themselves on branches and bask in the sunlight.

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Green Iguana – an invasive non-native species

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Wood Stork

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Sleepy adult Heron incubating eggs – Tri-colored Heron, I think

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Roseate Spoonbill, probably a female

Today, I was rewarded with seeing one Roseate Spoonbill, a bird species known for its exquisite pink and white coloring.  There were also quite a few Black-bottomed Whistling Ducks who tend to fly and collect in large groups.  Speckled ducks and Teals make up some of the other duck or duck-like species in the wetlands.

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Female Teal

Understandably, the wetlands draw quite a bit of interest from nature/wildlife photographers.  The types of photographers range from I Phones to folks with some huge close-up lens and expensive cameras.  I carry a relatively light-weight camera which seems to quite sufficient except for action shots and zooming over 100x.  It’s sometimes as interesting to see the photographers and tourists as it is to view the wildlife.  There were no sighting of alligators or snakes today.

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Tri-colored Heron.

We’ve had some rainy, cloudy, and windy days here in SE Florida, but today promised to be a bit warmer up to 80 degrees, on the first day of April.  That sounds wonderful to some northerners, but it does get very humid later in the season.  Humidity wasn’t an issue today.

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Purple Gallinule, which looked rather like an active Easter Egg today

I didn’t happen to see any White Ibis today but did see several Glossy Ibis.  They tend to feed in amongst the reeds which makes them difficult to photograph.  Occasionally, raptors will be seen, but there were none spotted today on my wanderings.

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Dozing Heron

Well, there you have it…my nature walk for today.  I hope you enjoyed the photos.  This particular wetland is man-made and the birds are free to come and go, so it is a marvelous place to see relatively close-up birds native to Florida, some very rare, all together in one area.

Be well,

“Sunny”

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

 

3 thoughts on “Nature Walks: Early Spring Wetlands

  1. I always thoroughly enjoy the bird photos you put on Blue Dragon. So many gorgeous birds in Florida. I must say though you really out did yourself today…those birds are just stunning. Seems like you got some extra special shots! Thank you for sharing!

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