A great many of our recent photographs and articles have revolved around rookeries, juvenile birds raised there, and the adults taking care of their young.
The other day it occurred to me most photos here, and our other sites, do not present what the swamp and surrounding areas look like. Everything is seen ‘down the barrel’ of a zoom lens. So here are a few photographs of the locations. An incredible place to see and visit.
Through out the area small islands of brush and trees rise out of the water. Green duck weed covers most of the open water here. Duck weed is a tiny leafed plant that floats on top. From above it looks like a thick (and not pleasant) soup. It actually is billions of connected minuscule plants.
Egrets, herons, and other wading birds nest in the branches and trees above the water. Being surrounded by water protects the nests from most predictors. The ones that can swim (raccoons, opossum, rats) have another problem. The alligators. All around the rookery you can find ‘logs’ floating. Usually covered in the duck weed and moss.
Alligators know the nests will bring a food source. The birds know alligators protect the rookery. However, young birds are also part of the equation. Fall from a nest, try to fly too early, or just sit around the island not looking and disaster can strike. Alligators don’t play favorites.
The swamp is like a giant market. The adults have little problem finding food here. Some of it strange looking, but the young don’t seem to mind.
This was written in early August and the juveniles are grown and flying now. The rookery is not completely empty but soon it will be.
As we move our shots to other locations more general photographs of the environment will be added to lend perspective to the articles.