Sunday, August 11 2019

Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Wakodahatchee Wetlands has an elevated boardwalk that goes through a wetlands reclamation area used by Palm Beach County to filter treated wastewater. Over 151 species of birds have been spotted within the park that's also home to turtles, alligators, rabbits, frogs, and raccoons. This manmade wetland naturally purifies highly treated water from the southern region water reclamation facility, recharges the area’s groundwater resources and provides a natural habitat for wildlife.

The boardwalk takes visitors through stages of marsh, from bulrush in the shallows to deeper water with alligator flag. A 1/4 mile trail leads to a 1/2 mile loop through the marsh. It's an opportunity to get close proximity to wading birds. The boardwalk has interpretive signage as well as gazebos with benches along the way. This site is part of the South section of the Great Florida Birding Trail and offers many opportunities to observe birds in their natural habitats.

Spring and Fall are the migration season for Florida wetland birds providing a vast collection of nesting birds. When I was there numerous eggs has hatched and were in various stages of development. I've included a couple photos of Wood Storks and Great Blue Herons caring for their young.

Sunday, August 4 2019

Cattle Egret

The Cattle Egret is a small, compact, white heron with stout yellow bill, adorned with buff plumes in the breeding season.. Unlike most other egrets the cattle egret can often seen on dry land or following cattle or tractors in fields where it feeds upon insects flushed out of the ground. Their legs are red or yellow during the breeding season and black during non-breeding season. Breeding birds have redder bills and creamy patches on body.

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Reddish Egret

This is only the second Reddish Egret I've seen in the past year or more, both in the Ding Darling Refuge on Sanibel Island, note the tracking device on its back. The Reddish Egrets were decimated by plume hunters in late 1800s. Reportedly not seen in Florida between 1927 and 1937, the numbers have gradually increased under complete protection. Current United States population roughly 2000 pairs. While populations have been recovering during the past century, this species is now threatened by the degradation and destruction of its preferred coastal habitat.

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