Oh baby! Wakodahatchee is hatching!

March 5, 2012 at 5:12 am | Posted in The Wild Side | 2 Comments
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A few weeks ago, I visited Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach. At that time, we saw a lot of nesting happening, so I decided it was time to revisit and see how those little eggs were coming along.

As soon as we arrived, I noticed this little Green Heron hopping around from branch to branch. As she came closer, I noticed she was quite busy gathering sticks to build herself a nest. I can see I’ll have to be going back again soon in hopes of seeing her little hatchling family.

A little further down the boardwalk were several Great Egrets nesting on one of the islands. I had to admire their bravery, nesting just feet above the ground where alligators apparently like to rest. (See that big guy hiding down there in the branches? Yeah, I didn’t at first either!)

As I ventured further around the back side of the boardwalk, I stumbled upon what appeared to be Club Great Egret. There were almost a dozen of them all together working on their nests and sitting on eggs. They should be hatching fairly soon!

Now I realize the above pictures might look a little frightning. No, momma bird here isn’t eating her young. This Anhinga mother had just brought lunch to her little hatchling. I didn’t realize that the baby had to practically crawl down it’s mothers throat to get it’s food! I learn something new every day.

There were baby Anhinga’s all over! They’re actually quite adorable with their fluffy white down feathers. They were spead out all around the nesting islands sunning themselves and waiting for their parents to return with something for them to eat. You would think baby birds being everywhere would be chaos when an adult bird returned to do a feeding, but upon every adults return that I saw, it was quite orderly. The baby’s clearly know who their parents are and not to mooch off of the neighboring nests.

I’ll admit it, this is who I was really excited to see out of their eggs. Great Blue Heron start nesting in late winter and their eggs hatch well before spring. I knew some of those good momma birds who were tending to their nests last time I was there must have had some new little hatchlings to show off. I certainly wasn’t disappointed…

While mom is away, the babies will play! With their parents off finding their next meal, these little Great Blue Heron were out exploring their tree. I could only describe them as “So ugly that they’re cute”. They were wobbly and awkward, they were precious, and they were huge! For being only a couple of weeks old (at most), they had a lot of feathers coming in and were a good size considering their ago. Birds mature very fast, it’s essential for their survival, and it was obvious with these guys. I’m willing to bet when I visit in a couple more weeks they’ll be out of the nest and learning to hunt.

The babies and mothers weren’t the only ones getting attention today. This Cormorant is just as close as it looks. I sat back from a distance and watched a couple approach this bird to take its picture with their cell phone. They were literally about 2 feet away from it and it didn’t budge. People passed by, I even passed with my neon orange stroller, and this bird paid everyone no attention.

With it being such a warm, sunny day there is no surprise that so many turtles were out catching some rays. I love sights like this, the “turtle conga line”, where they all gather to sun together in a big, happy turtle pile.

Of course, dozens of turtles weren’t the only reptiles enjoying this beautiful day in South Florida. Today, we saw three alligators. Those people from my first Wakodahatchee story were right, Mr. “Always at that Log” didn’t disappoint today. The other two were basking on islands.

The fish must have known that it was gator siesta time. There were quite a few Tilapia out scavenging for whatever nasty thing they feel like eating. Funny thing I learned about Tilapia’s dietary habit, which I won’t get into because I realize some of my readers might actually enjot a Tilapia dinner, but let’s just say that it won’t be on my menu tonight. Or tomorrow. Or ever.

So an Anhinga, a Turtle, and an Alligator were sitting on a log… (Go ahead, you finish that one)

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2 Comments »

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  1. The birds are “using” the alligators !!!! The alligator will eat all the critters that can climb the tree’s to raid the nests.

    • Symbiotic relationships between animals amazes me – birds get protection, alligator gets meals to come to him. It really is just us humans having a hard time getting along with everyone else.


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