Nesting Season at Wakodahatchee
For the last two months, it’s been nesting and baby season at the Green Cay and Wakodahatchee Wetlands — oases of green in South Florida’s suburbia, nestled on the edge of the Everglades. In the Seminole Indian language, Wakodahatchee translates as “created waters” — and that’s exactly what’s been done at these wetlands. Wakodahatchee’s present-day 50 acres of wetlands were, in their previous incarnation, unused utility land. But the space has been transformed into an Everglades wildlife ecosystem, with marsh habitat, intermittent tree islands, and cypress hammocks. Each day, the Palm Beach County’s Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility pumps nearly two million gallons of highly treated water daily into Wakodahatchee; the wetlands themselves further naturally cleanse, recharge, and filter the remaining nutrients and maintain earth’s water cycle. Dozens of different species of trees, shrubs, and aquatic vegetation were also incorporated to help manage this feat.
Wakodahatchee is a birdwatcher’s paradise — the site is part of the South section of the Great Florida Birding Trail, and common sightings include egrets, herons, ducks, grebes, bitterns, ibis, moorhens, warblers, blackbirds, cardinals, owls, hawks…and the list goes on, with more than 140 species identified. Many turtles make their home at the wetlands, and marsh rabbit can also be seen in the grassy and low-lying areas. As always, alligator sightings are common at Wakodahatchee, and non-poisonous snakes and frogs live on the fringes of the boardwalk. But I’ve even had the most fortunate sightings of shy otters and bobcat. Right now however, it’s the babies that are catching everyone’s eyes….
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A most entertaining trio of young anhingas:
Big Like You: The crowded rookery, with great blues, anhingas, tri-colors, and ibises (the egrets have their very own space):
Yummy mealtime for the young anhingas (those mommas work hard)…
And some of the rookery’s newer fuzzy anhinga residents…