Happy Mother’s Day to all of the human and animal moms out there! To celebrate, I have assembled a collection of images from my last trip to Wakodahatchee Wetlands. As it is springtime, I was fortunate to capture many nests full of infant and juvenile birds, as well as a baby alligator!
Check out the gallery below, and be sure to share with your mom or your own baby bird!
I think it is incredible to witness the relationships between the mother birds and their babies. Maternal love and protection comes in many different forms!
A wood stork sits on its nest.
A wood stork mom with her two restless chicks.
I’m sure a lot of mothers can relate to this feeling…
A wood stork family.
A very young anhinga, surrounded by equally fluffy siblings.
Mother Green Heron watches over her curious babies tucked in a well-hidden nest.
Recently, I went on a beach walk and did a one-hour beach cleanup. I started at the northernmost entrance to Spanish River Park, where there is limited street parking on Spanish River Road. I walked north towards Highland Beach.
Overall, the beach was relatively clean, though there were a few concentrations of trash, and plenty of disturbing finds.
Though it was overcast, it was an eerily beautiful beach day.
The gray sky bled into the gray sea, and without the help of a sailboat I wouldn’t have been able to tell where the horizon was.
The sea was also silent, a rare sight on the east coast of Florida.
Scary Findings (Or Reasons Why You Should Keep Your Shoes On at the Beach!)
In suburban West Delray, there is a hidden oasis that will truly delight any bird- or nature-lover. Wakodahatchee Wetlands is a tranquil, man-made wetland that has naturally become a sanctuary for over 140 species of birds, as well as a variety of amphibious and reptilian species.
The first time I arrived at Wakodahatchee Wetlands, I was awe-struck by the cacophony of bird calls, and the diversity of birds all in one location. I have never been to any other natural setting where there were so many different types of birds that I could easily observe in their natural environment. There were birds nesting, floating, and soaring in every direction! It was a cinematic moment.
Using over 50 acres of utilities land, the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Southern Regional Water Reclamation pumps nearly two million gallons of highly treated wastewater into the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. Instead of this land just being a nasty wastewater pond, or the wastewater instead being harmfully pumped into the ocean or injected into the ground, Palm Beach County (PBC) has found a way to harmonize with the natural environment. Instead of causing greater destruction, PBC has instead enhanced the lives of many birds who have lost their homes to the suburbs and development of the area.
Wakodahatchee Wetlands is a great example of how modern society can coexist with the natural world, and I think it is a place that other municipalities throughout the state of Florida and the US should tour to see how this man-made ecosystem is thriving.
Directions: The Wakodahatchee Wetlands are located on the east side of Jog Road between Woolbright Road and Atlantic Avenue (Exit Route 95 onto Atlantic Avenue West; continue to Jog Road; turn right; park is on the right) The site is on the southeast side of Palm Beach County Water Utility Department’s Southern Region Operations Center at 13026 Jog Road, Delray Beach.
*Tip*Go early in the morning when the birds are waking up and becoming active, and before the sun gets too hot. There are covered pavilions with sitting areas along the 3/4 mile boardwalk just in case.
What to bring: Bring a hat, sunscreen if you have sensitive skin, and definitely a bottle of water in a reusable container. There are covered seating areas if you need a respite from the sun on the walk, but most of the boardwalk is exposed. There is not really a place for picnicking, and it is best to bring as little with you as possible to reduce litter in this beautiful habitat.
Thought I would share some wonderful images of the last beach walk I took in 2015 for all of those reminiscing about their holiday beach vacations.
I started at the South Beach Pavilion in Boca Raton, and walked north towards Red Reef Park. The beach in front of the pavilion is usually concentrated with people, and this day was no different. (This is a favorite spot for the FAU students.) Despite all of the people, I was able to capture so very relaxed gulls. I also saw man-o-war aplenty, so beware if you are swimming in the South Florida region!
I took all of these images with my phone. Enjoy!
Looking south towards the South Beach Pavilion in Boca Raton.
A squadron of pelicans.
A group of cute seabirds!
Look how well the birds camouflage with the sand.
A washed-up man-o-war. Be careful, they can still sting you!
A cluster of man-o-wars, and a flower.
These gulls were lulled to sleep by the ocean breeze.
The waves were choppy, but not too intense. Great for bodysurfing or learning how to surf. Always watch out for rip currents!