Nature Walk: Green Cay Wetlands, 3Dec21

Male Anhinga in a Pond Apple Tree, photo by Eliza Ayres

Eliza: Green Cay Nature Walk, 03 December 2021

Another late autumn walk in coolish temps… perfect for a bird walk. I drove to Green Cay Wetlands, a facility owned by the local water district and used for filtering waste water before dumping it into the nearby Everglades. One of the first sights to greet me, besides the walkers… was this male Anhinga, patiently drying out his wings between fishing expeditions.

Green Cay Wetlands, photo by Eliza Ayres

Green Cay Wetlands are thoughtfully provided with native marsh plants, grasses, shrubs, and trees for the marsh and associated hammocks (sheltered place). Queen palms and palmetto palms, Red Maple, Live Oak, and associated shrubs and vines make up the hammocks and surrounding hedges / edgings to the wetlands. There is quite a bit of road noise at the wetlands due to its being close to the Florida Turnpike and busy Hagen Ranch Road.

Green Heron, photo by Eliza Ayres

Green Herons are just so intense. Their necks can stretch out so the herons can catch fish more easily. This little fellow was standing in the midst of some plants and being ignored completely by other photographers and passers-by.

Heron, photo by Eliza Ayres

Due to the angle of the photograph, I can’t decide whether this is a Green Heron or a Tri-colored Heron that is sheltering due to the slightly coolish morning air. Its bill appeared much longer than the Green Heron’s. Several birds when perched or in the water had their feathers fluffed out for added insulation.

Grebe, photo by Eliza Ayres

Another adorable Grebe, all wet and fluffy. As I was watching, the little fellow bobbed under the water a couple of times hunting for food. I’m not sure what they eat.

Coot or Mud Hen, photo by Eliza Ayres

The wetlands have both Coots and Moorhens. The Common Coots are winter visitors. The Moorhens live in Florida all year. I know; I see them on a daily basis in the canal near my house. You can tell these two species by their beaks. The Moorhens or Dusky moorhen, Gallinula tenebrosa, have an orange beak; the Coot, a white beak. The Moorhens are probably more common than the Coots at least in SE Florida. Moorhens are also noisy little birds and protective parents.

It’s interesting to see what birds are more apparent on any given day. At some point, I hope to be able to show some Roseate Spoonbills or some of the more transient water birds. Again, no alligators or turtles as the temperatures (low 60’s) was just a bit chilly for reptiles.

Eliza Ayres

(c) All Rights Reserved, Eliza Ayres,

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2 Responses to Nature Walk: Green Cay Wetlands, 3Dec21

  1. Dick Bacon says:

    I didn’t know of a difference between coots and mud hens. Now I’ll look more closely at the beak. We’re in the high thirties in Washington.

    Dick Bacon
    (253) 691-5984


    • Eliza Ayres says:

      I checked my facts a bit; Coots are also called mudhens. They are winter visitors in Florida. They have white beaks. The Moorhens are full-time residents and have orange beaks. The Moorhens are very good parents and noisy little birds.


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