Archive for the 'Wetlands' Category
The Fakahatchee Strand is located in the southwest area of Florida, part of the Everglades. This state park is unique in many ways. The first, it is the only ecosystem in the world where bald cypress trees and royal palms share the same forest canopy. But that was not the reason for today’s hike. It was the search for native bromeliads, those airplants that cling to trees.
New Year’s day and the temperature still felt like late summer, everyone wearing shorts and T shirts. The air just cool enough so that sweat would not roll off our bodies on a hike. So Kitty and I headed to Wakodahatchee to stroll around the wetlands on the raised wooden boardwalk.
I expected to see only a few people observing the wildlife. Surprise, surprise. The crowds had discovered this area of beauty. Everyone had cameras, a few with honkin’ long lenses. I had thought about taking my 800mm lens, but decided against it to photograph animals close to the walkway. A long lens is nice for the shy birds out in the distance, but so many egrets, herons, and ducks like to stay close to the viewing area that a 200mm lens will usually suffice.
Even though many people chose to visit this site today, the noise level was almost on mute. No running, shouting, or tossing items at the creatures occurred. Different photographers compared notes with one another, describing where to set-up for an excellent photo op. And from time to time, the out-of-towner wanting to know “are there any alligators around?” So, yes, I would lead them to a place for them to see their first gator.
Wakodahatchee is a Seminole Indian word roughly meaning “created waters”. And that is what this place is all about. This is a working example of waste water being cleaned by natural vegetation. Fifty acres of wetlands are home to 140 species of turtles, frogs, alligators, and birds. Truly a birder’s paradise.
The boardwalk is less than a mile in length, but can easily take an hour or two to complete the loop. Just so much to see. At times, Kitty and I like to stop and listen to the sounds of the moor hens, mottled ducks, limpkins, and the sounds coming from the rookeries.