Nature Walk to Green Cay – Ah… Spring is in the Air! 4 March 2022
No gator today, but I did see a large turtle resting on the shore. Its back was covered with slimy duck weed, a greenish pond plant that is enjoyed by vegan ducks and other water fowl.
The photo above of the two Anhingas was preceded by the male presenting the female with a couple of twigs to tuck into her nest. It was a sweet ritual by a mated pair.
Before I arrived in Florida… actually on the East Coast low country, I had never seen an Ibis in the wild. Now, everyday, I see whole flocks of them tooling around the neighborhood eating whatever they eat. They tend to arrive in the early morning and settle down on lawns and around the ponds. The ibis are also very gregarious groupies; if one flies off, all of them go. We also have Glossy Ibis locally but they tend to stay in the wetlands. The Glossies are also very groupie, often feeding in a small flock, as they range through thick marsh plantings (which makes them hard to photograph). Occasionally, you can see one alone or nearly so:
When the angle of light is right, the Glossy Ibis’ feathers are very pretty, iridescent.
Several species of the Herons live in SE Florida including the Tri-colored, the Great Blue, the Little Blue, Red Heron and the Green Heron (or Lesser Bitteren). The smaller herons are delicately built birds, slender, with long necks so they can view over the top of the water or vegetation.
The Great Blue Herons are truly regal birds and wonderful to watch as they fly slowly. They have a coarse croak for a call.
Several types of turtles live in the marsh lands. Florida also has Gopher Tortoises, which live on land. I guess they are called Gopher Tortoises as they build burrows in sandy soils. They are a protected species. The wetlands only have turtles which you can occasionally see sunning themselves on the edge of the marsh or on logs.
This noble bird remained in place for a few minutes as I observed it. They have bright blue eyes, almost turquoise in color. Cormorants, as anyone knows who has spent time in and around water, are great fisher folk. I guess this one was just resting and didn’t seem to mind my quiet presence.
Many of the birds were a bit feisty or on edge, as it is mating season for several species. Boys were chasing around girls and making quite a stir in the marsh. Red-winged Black Birds were singing at the top of their tiny lungs and puffing up their colorful red patches. Shy females flitted around thru the marsh plants ignoring the males… until just the right one came along (no, I missed that part!).
I love these little herons. I see them occasionally near the ponds in our neighborhood. I didn’t realize just how long they can stretch up their necks until I observed this a couple of times. They have a distinct call/croak. They always look a bit grumpy; just very intense and focused little birds.
Well, that’s all for today. I don’t know a lot about birds other than what I have read and observed while living there. I’m certainly not an authority on the subject. Florida is well-known as a birders’ paradise with all of the sub-tropical species that can live here.
Hope you enjoyed the photos!