Saturday, March 1, 2014

Mar 1 (Day 60) - Wakodahatchee Wetlands, lots of photos!

This internet where I am staying tonight is atrocious, so I am going to keep this short and sweet. Today I birded my way from North Palm Beach down the coast to Delray beach. At points the ride ran right along the beach. With bright sun and a gentle breeze, the view over the aqua water was just beautiful. Unfortunately, this view was frequently interrupted by stretches of private beaches that were adorned with hideous and ostentatious excuses for homes. How anyone can "own" the beach is complete beyond me. The beach should be public property as far as I am concerned. Better yet, kick everyone off it and leave it of for the birds, fish, and turtles. Anyway before I get too far off topic with this rant, I'll just say that I rode about 44 miles today. 

A fun one from along the road

My destination today was the Wakodahatchee Wetlands preserve just west of Delray Beach. I have birded this spot once before (maybe 8 years ago), and today it was just as fantastic as I remembered it. The herons, cormorants, anhingas, moorhens, and other marsh birds are completely accustomed to the throngs of people roaming the marsh boardwalk above them. They are easily approached and photographed. This is a great spot to bring beginning birders. I think any person that visits this place will walk away thoroughly impressed with the diversity and the beauty of birdlife one can find in South Florida. I was able to add 2 new birds between extended bouts of photography: Purple gallinule (#216) and Black-bellied whistling-duck (#217). Unfortunately, I (and Sonia behind the scenes) had to spend an inordinate amount of time calling around to find lodging for tonight. This really cut into the amount of birding/photography I could do this afternoon. I had planned to make it to Green Cay Wetlands after Wakodahatchee, but that plan evaporated as I dealt with the lodging issue. Riding around in the dark on a Saturday night looking for a place to stay could be really dangerous. In a car, you just get in and drive, day or night. 

I will be heading to Green Cay very early tomorrow morning, so hopefully I can there check-off a few more year birds. I also hope to spend some time looking for Spot-breasted oriole in the neighborhoods around Delray Beach. This introduced bird will be a royal headache as it requires wandering around in residential neighborhoods and staring into people's yards. This means two things. First, not many other interesting birds are likely to surface while I am looking for the oriole. Second, it means I will have to explain myself to folks in the neighborhood as they assume I am casing it for a future heist. I'll have a couple shots at the oriole, but each time it will be the same story.

OK, that's it. Here are a few of the better photos from the day!

***Click thumbs for bigger images***

Wakodahatchee wetlands at day's end

Great blue heron

Pied-billed grebe excited about something!

Tricolored heron

Great egret - tried to set up shot so as to avoid
boardwalk in back but it was impossible

Anhinga chicks

Double-crested cormorant portrait

Common moorhen 

Black-bellied whistling-ducks

Purple gallinule


  1. I was glad to see you counted #217 Black-bellied whistling duck, as that was my guess for your 200th bird. Did anyone successfully guess Yellow-throated Warbler ? Jerry

  2. what a day, unbelievable beauty

  3. Great shots! It must be a tremendous relief to be able to focus more on the birding and somewhat less on the biking/cold. Following all your moves and rooting you on from here in cold, snowy, wintry NYC. (And eagerly awaiting your Everglades canoe trip to get a Flamingo...)

  4. Your photos are breathtaking Dorian. I'm glad you're out of that horrendous weather. Now you can really enjoy the cycling. Even the birds come south during the winter.

  5. I know at least out here in California, people can not "own" the beach as long as you stay "at or below the mean high tide water level". The only exception would be for military/govt installations: