Nature Walks: Wakodahatchee

Night Heron

Nature Walks: Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Sept. 9, 2019

Finally, after quite a hiatus, I went out on a bird walk. The wetlands were pretty quiet today, it not being nesting season quite yet. The storks haven’t arrived yet, but I was able to spot quite a few of the usual suspects: egrets, herons, anhingas, and grackles. l’ll let the photos do the rest of the ‘talking’…

Great Egret
Little Blue Heron – observe the subtle coloration in the wings, just like a soft watercolor…
Four in a Row – Black-bottomed Whistling Ducks
Grooming female Anhinga, a fishing bird
Male Anhinga drying out after a swim
Great Blue Heron
Tri-colored Heron, actively fishing…
A posing Tri-colored Heron. I got quite close to this bird.
Nesting Cormorants

These were my best photos for today. I actually went to Green Cay last week, but my camera batteries died.

The weather remains hot and humid, pretty much standard for SE Florida from May to November. There were hardly any people at the wetlands today which was great. It made a nice quiet walk. Later in the season, the one-mile boardwalk is packed with spectators and photographers as the nesting season commences with action from the wood storks, Egrets, Herons, Anhingas, and other marsh bird species.

The summer is winding down, but it’s still hurricane season here so everyone is on the alert for another storm. Nothing yet… Folks in these parts breath easier when it is finally November. It has been a wet summer or ‘rainy’ season here, with lots of colorful thunderstorms. However, I haven’t had my camera with me much until now.

Enjoy the remainder of summer… and be InJoy.

Eliza Ayres

All rights Reserved, 2019, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

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

 

Nature Walks – Green Cay & Wakodahatchee Wetlands – March 2019

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Nature Walks – Green Cay & Wakodahatchee Wetlands

It’s March and it’s nesting time for many of the wading birds in SE Florida.  Above is a shot of a posturing male Great Egret in breeding plumage and colors.

It was a cool day; most people had sweaters or even coats on, except me.  I relish the coolness… upper 50’s, I think.  And the sunshine was brilliant making shooting challenging in the low angled sun.

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Male Angina drying off after a swim.

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Double-crested Cormorant. Notice the difference between the bills of the two swimming birds, Angina (above) and the Cormorant.

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The shy Limpkin

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Wood Stork

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Black-bottomed Whistling Duck

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Green Heron in silhouette.

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White Ibis

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Balancing Act

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Alligator sighting

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Female Cormorant

These photos are from two separate outings.  I did finally see an alligator at Wakodahatchee this morning, cruising from under the boardwalk.

Hope you enjoy the photos!

“Sunny”

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

Nature Walks – Winter in Green Cay, Palm Beach County, Florida

 

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Nature Walks – Winter in Green Cay Wetlands Preserve

A northerner would be hard-pressed to recognize the season as being “winter” today — but, hey, that’s Florida, especially SE Florida where the temperatures are crawling back up into the low 80’s during the day, again.  And the humidity seems to be increasing as well if my light dewy sweat was any indication… It is “walk slow” and drink lots of fluids time.

There were lots of birds today, mostly egrets, ibis, cormorants, and Anhingas… and other little flitting varieties which I never seem to be able to catch in a photograph.  And, oh yes, the Painted Buntings have made their wintertime appearance.  The males are sure colorful little birds!

And here are some photos… yes, there was an alligator sighting today…

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Painted Bunting pair.

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Female Anhinga

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Snowy Egret

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Snoozing Female Alligator

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Teals

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Wood Stork

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Glossy Ibis

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A quartet of Turtles

That’s it for today.  Have a pleasant week, everyone!

Be well.

“Sunny” VaCoupe

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

 

Nature Walks: Winter Wako Walk

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Wood Stork Adult

Nature Walks: Winter Wako Walk

It is winter here in Florida or what passes for winter hereabouts… the days are in the ’70s and nights are in the high ’50s to low ’60s, in other words, perfect for walking.

I made it to two of my favorite nearby wetlands, Wakodahatchee and Green Cay, saw lots of birds and two alligators — a good day.  The skies were blue, the air crisp, and I was comfortable in my short sleeves, while other people were all bundled up.  Guess my blood hasn’t thinned out enough yet.  I feel much better in this cooler weather.

The mating/nesting season is getting underway.  It was amusing to see Wood Storks quarreling with Anginas or Herons to see who would get the perfect nest site.  The pond apple tree condos are very popular this year!

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Female alligator cruising.

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Great Blue Heron

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Great Blue Heron feeding young.

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Juvenile Gold Crowned Night Heron

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Female Angina

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Beauty Berry

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American Bittern

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Marsh Hen

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Great Egret showing breeding feathers.

Well, hope you liked the quick tour of a couple of SE Florida wetlands.  There is lots to see and most of the walking is done on boardwalks.

Remember, there is a lunar eclipse this weekend with a Super Moon.  And enjoy your weekend!

“Sunny” VaCoupe

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

Nature Walks – Winter Marsh, 12.27.18

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Nature Walks – Winter Marsh, 12.27.18

For the first time in a couple of months, I made my way to Green Cay Wetlands to view the birds and gators.  I was lucky to see two gators (love is in the air!) and several birds.  The birds were very busy doing bird things, looking for their next meal in the muddy marsh so weren’t easy to view or photograph today.

The snowbirds and vacationers are present, as well, with more cars in the parking lot, which is huge.  Occasionally the boardwalk was like playing bumper cars, but it wasn’t too bad today.

The title photo was taken at sunrise earlier in December, pointing east.   Here are some photos from the marshes today:

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Grooming Teal. The “green” is actually a beautiful teal color; just doesn’t translate onto film.

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Gator couple. The one in the upper left is the male. That’s one BIG boy!

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I didn’t have much luck getting any photos of ibises, herons, or egrets today although I saw some.  They were either too far away or too camouflaged by marsh plants to see clearly in a photo.  Better luck next time, I hope.

Happy New Year’s to all my readers!

“Sunny” VaCoupe (aka Eliza Ayres, human pen name)

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

Nature Walk – Green Cay Summer Quiet

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Nature Walk – Green Cay Summer Quiet

It’s August, it’s hot, but I still managed to get out.  The humidity has gone down a tad, so I wasn’t dripping too much after walking the two miles or so of this loop.  There wasn’t a huge variety of birds now, just the typical herons, egrets, ibis, anginas, and other wading birds.  As I was walking into a hammock, I saw a flash of blue from a Blue Jay, but it was moving too fast to get a photo.  The nesting season is long over and the heat keeps the birds from getting too overactive.  Here are some photos:

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Green Heron

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Purple Gallinule

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Glossy Ibis

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Tri-colored Heron

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Black-bottom Whistling Ducks

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Double-crested Cormorant

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Lounging Turtle

Well, that’s it for now, folks.  As you can see, my health has improved.  I’ve been walking and swimming… especially enjoying the swimming as I can keep outside AND keep cool.

Enjoy the rest of your summer season (or winter for the Southern latitudes!).

Hugs,

“Sunny” VaCoupe (aka Eliza Ayres)

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

Nature Walks – Gone to the Birds…

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Nature Walks – Gone to the Birds:  A Walk at Green Cay Wetlands

I’ll let the photos do the talking:

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Double-crested Cormorant

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Fuzzy Marsh Hen chick.

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Firecracker Bush. Butterflies love this flower!

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The Marsh Hibiscus. The showiest flower in the marsh!

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Female Yellow-crowned Night Heron. The male was hiding in the cypress branches. These are shy birds.

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Sunning turtle.

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Happy Solstice to everyone!

This “summer” is going to be a hot one.  Already the temperatures are in the 90’s F.  The highest temperature last summer was typically 88F.  I was dripping by the time I got back to the car!

Happy weekend!

Eliza Ayres

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

 

 

 

Nature Walks – A Walk in Wako

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Cattle Egret in breeding plumage

Nature Walks – A Walk in Wakodahatchee

It’s been a difficult year with the incoming energies exacerbating any physical difficulties or conditions.  And the rainy season has been truly living up to its name, with sometimes nearly daily multiple thunderstorms and cells moving through the area.  As a consequence, I haven’t been out as much this spring.   Today, however, I managed to get out on a nice walk to one of my favorite nearby wetlands to catch a little of the tail-end of nesting season at Wakodahatchee.  The sun was beating down, the humidity high, but I managed to get a couple of laps around the boardwalk, taking in the remaining bird families, the huge new growth in the marsh plants, as well as a sky devoid of any looming dark gray storm clouds.  Here are some photos from the walk:

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Tri-colored Heron, a common inhabitant of the marshlands.

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Fledging Cattle Egret by Eliza Ayres

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Grazing

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Contemplation by Eliza Ayres

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Great Blue Heron cooling off by Eliza Ayres

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Basilisk Lizard – this species can run on its hind legs!

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Black-bottomed Whistling Duck

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Marsh Bunny

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Long-legged Tri-colored Heron

Here are some photos from another walk I took last week, this time to Green Cay:

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Turtle and Palm

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Marsh Hibiscus

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Fledging Marsh Hen

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Great Egret

That’s it for now, folks.  Now that I’m feeling better I hope to get out more.

Happy Solstice wherever you are located on the planet!

Namaste,

Eliza Ayres

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Eliza Ayres, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com

Nature Walk – Wakodahatchee Revisited

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Nature Walk – Wakodahatchee Revisited

by Eliza Ayres

Oh, my gosh… going through my older blog posts, it looks like I haven’t done one of these Nature walks for over a month!  And most of that time I’ve been dealing with yet another bout of “illness” or ascension upgrades or whatever.  Each time it seems to take longer for me to recover and gain some strength.  The little mile-long walk today had me wobbling a bit, but I managed it by walking slow and taking lots of photos.  It was kind of funny but almost all the birds I photographed were actively grooming themselves, basically ignoring my presence.  And I did manage to see one alligator during the walk.  I will report that the number of visitors has dropped considerably.  There were plenty of parking spaces, but then again, today was the first day for 2.5 weeks that we had a hint of blue skies.  Florida has been dealing with a lot of rain and gray skies.  All of the local ponds are flush with water and I would imagine the various bushfires have been put out by the long series of thunderstorms.  And we’re due for some more from a small system that seems to be forming off the coast of Belize.  I hope it isn’t a tropical storm or worst…

Here are some photos from my walk…

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Tri-colored Heron

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Female Anhinga

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Large Green Iguana

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Great Egret

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Purple Gallinule

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The nesting cycle continues although the Great Blue Heron, Cormorants, and other birds seemed to have completed.  There were still young Cattle egrets, Tri-colored herons, young Egrets, and well-grown Wood Storks to be found.

Hopefully, I will be able to get out on some more of these outings.  It depends on the weather and my strength.  Meanwhile, for my readers in the United States, enjoy the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, the “official” beginning of summer here.

Kisses and hugs,

“Sunny” VaCoupe

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