Friday, April 25, 2014

Birding Florida, part 2

A Tricolored Heron wades in the shallows at Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Palm Beach County, Florida. Image Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2014.

One of the most beautiful and productive spots I've ever been birding has to be the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, a gorgeous and easily accessible park with a long, winding boardwalk that takes visitors over and through a remarkable mix of marsh, pond and edge habitat filled with a wide range of avian and reptilian life. We were very lucky to get there on a bright, beautiful morning, before the park got too crowded and I was struck right away by the abundance of birds everywhere, from Tricolored Herons to Common Gallinule and Anhinga.

The boardwalk at Wakodahatchee Wetlands offers prime viewing of an amazing range of birds and other wildlife, including alligators. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2014.

I was particularly excited to see the Tricolored Herons, a new life bird and one that I was able to see up close from the boardwalk. The air above the boardwalk was alive with the flapping wings and awkward flight of Anhinga moving from one tree to another, and in the vegetation there were plenty of Little Blue Hersons, Green Herons and Blac-Crowned Night Herons on the lookout for their aquatic prey. We were also lucky enough to get a really good look at a pair of Blue-Winged Teal, a bird I had only previously observed at a distance.

An Anhinga in a tree gathers vegetation, presumably for a nest. Image copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2014.
Overall this was one of the best places I have ever been birding and would highly recommend it to both beginning and advanced birders -  the opportunity to see a range of wading species, ducks and other birds up close which are normally difficult to spot is not only a lot of fun, but also affords the chance to sharpen ID skills and observe a range of behaviors, from feeding to nesting. I know I can't wait to get back.

Copyright Daniel E. Levenson 2014.

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