Wako Walk in the Wetlands

Huge male iguana sunning himself, photo by Eliza Ayres

Wako Wetlands Walk – 23 November 2021

It was an extremely bright blue morning in SE Florida with temperatures in the mid 60’s, pleasant walking. I decided to go to Wakodahatchee and Green Cay Wetlands to get in some walking and birding.

Being coolish and early in the season for the nesting birds, there weren’t very many people at Wakodahatchee, making it easy to find a parking place. The Wood Storks have not yet arrived for their annual (and smelly) nursery perched in the Pond Apple trees of the marsh.

Great Blue Heron, photo by Eliza Ayres
Alert Tri-colored Heron, photo by Eliza Ayres

I’ve always loved to do photography while walking out in nature, although I don’t take photos in my own neighborhood, out of respect for people’s privacy. I started doing photography back in the late 70’s when my father gifted me with a 35 mm camera.

Intent-looking Egret Hunting, photo by Eliza Ayres
Double-crested Cormorant, photo by Eliza Ayres

When I came up on the Cormorant (see photo above) he had his head tucked into his wings, probably trying to keep warm. I took a couple of photos and didn’t see when he struck this perfect pose for me… Along with Anhingas, these birds are magnificent swimmers and fisher people. They nest at Wakodahatchee.

Green Heron, photo by Eliza Ayres

There were several large green iguanas perched on trees attempting to keep warm. Although the sun was brilliant, there was a sharp cool breeze during the early part of my walk. I also noted a handsome Night Heron perched in a nearby Cypress tree but could not get a good photo of him. They are a very distinctive-looking bird and fairly rare, although I have occasionally seen one at our local pond.

Female Anhinga Grooming, photo by Eliza Ayres

Here is Florida’s other great underwater swimmer (bird) the Anhinga. You’ll find them perched on the edge of a pond or in trees drying out their wings between swims. The females have the light brown necks. The males are all black but a beautiful pattern of white on their back and wings…

Little Wading Bird, photo by Eliza Ayres

I haven’t identified the above bird other than it is some sort of marsh / wading bird. Look at the big feet and longish legs…

Mudhen, photo by Eliza Ayres

Look at those feet! These big feet enable the common Mud Hen to walk over floating marsh plants and prevent them from sinking into the mud. They are a noisy little bird and commonly found in waterways in Florida.

Large Green Iguana, non-native, photo by Eliza Ayres

The Green Iguana is a non-native, invasive species that has created a home for itself in Southern Florida. In some areas they have become a pest and are collected and killed. We don’t have them in our neighborhood ponds. No alligators were sighted today. The water levels of both wetlands were extremely high after all the recent rains. Today was a brilliant almost blinding day with the sunshine glinting off the quiet marsh ponds…

Well, that’s all for today, folks. Hope you enjoyed my presentation. Happy Holidays to all!


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6 Responses to Wako Walk in the Wetlands

  1. Dick Bacon says:

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. You certainly know your birds.


    • Eliza Ayres says:

      I know some of the Florida birds here. There are dozens of species that I could not identify, especially the shore birds. I have spent quite a lot of time in the marsh preserves so had time to learn the various names of some of the more obvious specimens. They’re all beautiful, especially the elegant waders like the Egrets, Herons, and Roseate Spoonbills.
      Thanks, David.


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