Florida Yellow-headed Blackbird

December 11:  First visit back to Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach for the 2014-2015 season. This venue has gotten more and more popular (and crowded!) with each successive year (sometimes hard to get a parking spot), but at least here most of the visitors have cameras or grandchildren, or both, and have come to admire Mother Nature. This is in sharp contrast to Green Cay Wetlands where the power walkers and loud cell phone talkers (sometimes the same individuals) frequently outnumber the nature seekers, and they don’t slow down or keep quiet even when stomping on the boardwalk past folks with binoculars or cameras trying, for example, to get a glimpse or a photo of a shy Least Bittern or Virginia Rail that has just finally ventured barely into view. The self-absorbed rudeness can sometimes be truly eye-opening. But I digress…

Yellow-headed Blackbird - immature maleToday the main attraction was an immature male Yellow-headed Blackbird, common out west but a Egyptian Gooserarity for Florida. There was a Roseate Spoonbill – a species that can now be found here more often than not, an Egyptian Goose – a species increasingly spreading over Florida (including a pair in the pond across the street from the house we are renting this season), and a Purple Swamphen – another rapidly expanding species in the state.

One used to have to go to PembrokePurple Swamphen Pines to find a Purple Swamphen, but they are now in many places. I saw them for the first time at Green Cay last season, and now this was the first time for Wakodahatchee. Some visitors observing the Purple Swamphen while poring over their guidebook were exclaiming how beautiful this “Purple Gallinule” was.

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