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Posts tagged ‘green cay’

Finding the Quiet Moments/A Plea to New Visitors

There are times — despite the sudden heightened attendance during our (human) Snowbird Season and inevitable increased disrespect for the surroundings (read: more *trash* — more *noise* — more “not allowed” items and activities) — that quiet moments can still be found in parts of the park. Increased traffic to the natural areas is definitely a mixed blessing. Not all new visitors are rude, by any means — but for those disrespectful ones, a simple plea: Remember why you are visiting a preserve, in the first place. It’s not Disney World. Simmer down. Respect and enjoy your surroundings, and consider that for our wildlife this special place is a sanctuary, by the grace of the founders and the continued efforts of the county. And most absurdly, please try your absolute best to hold onto that plastic water bottle and/or tissue, and refrain from throwing it into the carefully *protected* wetlands supporting this native wildlife. Honestly, it’s not that far to your SUV. Flora and fauna alike thank you.

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Bedtime at Green Cay

The ibis roost in the island trees, the anhingas dry their wings in the remaining sun, the herons take baths for what seem like hours, and — if you’re lucky — you can catch a glimpse of an owl or two….

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Thanks PBC, and Green Cay!

Palm Beach County Nature Centers to Remain Open

Recent threats of budget cuts throughout Palm Beach County took aim at the educational centers of the region’s scant nature preserves, including Green Cay. After much hubub and voiced concern, the Commissioners agreed to raise the property tax rate by less than 1% in order to keep the centers open. As long as this is approved *tonight* in a final public hearing, the doors will stay open, and the workers will retain their jobs, educating the public about our unique and endangered ecosystem.

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The Baby Gators of Green Cay

Just like with Wakodahatchee, there are always babies at Green Cay — baby herons and egrets, baby ibises, baby ducks, baby shorebirds and songbirds, baby rails, coots and moorhen, baby turtles, baby alligators…. With the myriad species and migrations, there’s constant nesting activity. It’s tremendous for the wildlife to have this protected habitat in the middle of South Florida’s suburban sprawl, on the edge of the Everglades — and equally favorable for the humans to silently appreciate Nature and her own lovely order.

On 8.23, 28 babies were born to one of Green Cay’s gators, at the mound pictured below. Unfortunately they’ve been more in the water than on land, for my camera. But in a further section of the park, another Momma Gator has been diligently watching over her adorable brood of 6 (ish?)….

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Everglades Wildlife at Green Cay + A New LENS!

As always, for my birthday, I was a very lucky girl. Lots of new — well, ca. 1920s/30s — art and other goodies! I also received a 55-250mm telephoto ZOOM lens for my Canon SLR as a gift from my guy… YAY-OH-YAY-OH-YAY-OH-YAAAAAYYYY! My friend Lisa and I have been lusting for this lens for our respective cameras for months, now.

This week my camera and I (I really should name her) braved the spotty rain at Green Cay. I couldn’t wait any longer to test her new lens with the area’s critters. I was completely giddy. Besides, I hadn’t yet caught a glimpse of Momma Gator and her brood — 28 born in her mound on 8.23. Leo/Virgo-cusp babies! Although there are far fewer surviving offspring, as to be expected, I was able to spy them swimming near an ever-vigilant momma.

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Green Cay Wetlands

Without the sanctuary of Green Cay and Wakodahatchee, I may nearly have lost my mind this past year. No joke. Both boardwalks/wetlands are an oasis of green, here in suburban Delray Beach (land of wayward development and concrete). Located on Hagen Ranch Road between Woolbright Road and Atlantic Avenue, it’s open seven days a week, making it readily available to the public.The present-day wetlands are the progeny of Ted and Trudy Winsberg who, for more than 40 years, grew vegetables at their Green Cay Farm. Time passed and surrounding farms were razed for commercial development. But the Winsbergs’ love for the land prompted their most generous gift: 100 acres of protected land. In its pre-farmland existence, the land was open prairie with wetland areas. But it has now been transformed into an Everglades ecosystem, with marsh habitat, intermittent tree islands, and cypress hammocks. Along the 1.5-mile elevated boardwalk are helpful signage about the habitat, as well as traditional Seminole chickee huts. Designed to naturally filter several million gallons of highly treated water daily from Palm Beach County’s Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility, the wetlands also help to recharge groundwater resources and maintain earth’s water cycle. Green Cay incorporates 86 different species of trees, shrubs, and aquatic vegetation to manage this feat. Additionally, the 9,000-square-foot Green Cay Nature Center is one of the county’s newest nature centers, and features a host of interactive exhibits and programs, providing educational opportunities about South Florida’s unique wetland habitat. A pioneer in the fields of wastewater treatment and reclaimed water distribution, the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department has proven its effective and innovative management philosophies in the Green Cay Wetlands.

Besides affording a sublime stroll, Green Cay is a birdwatcher’s paradise — a camera and/or binoculars are always handy. Common bird sightings include egrets, herons, ducks, grebes, bitterns, ibis, moorhens, warblers, blackbirds, cardinals, owls, hawks…and the list goes on. Many turtles make their home at the wetlands, including the Florida Red-bellied Turtle and the Peninsular Cooter. Marsh rabbit can also be seen in the grassy and low-lying marsh areas. As always, alligator sightings are common at Green Cay, and non-poisonous snakes and frogs live on the fringes of the boardwalk. But I’ve even had the most fortunate sighting of a shy bobcat.

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