A walk round the lagoons

Down on Grassy Key (the next Key down) there are some weird shallow fresh water lagoons edged by mangrove. I think they were dug out for aggregate when they were building the railway or road way back. They make a great habitat for birds and insects.

Big Eyed Dragonfly

Big Eyed Dragonfly

I’ve named this the big eyed dragonfly. Not sure what its real name is but it really should win prizes for the size of those eyes. I came across about twenty of these on a couple of mangrove bushes maybe newly hatched (?).  They were only small and rested quite low to the ground (making them very hard to focus on) but those eyes just blew me away.

Tricoloured Heron

Tricoloured Heron next to mangrove roots

Fresh water is hard to come by on the Keys. There are no springs or natural fresh water for them to drink (everything for humans is pumped in along massive pipes). So birds tend to make a beeline for these lagoons what ever the season.

This tricoloured heron is a new one on me. I haven’t seen one before.

Last year a group of spoonbills set up home there, and it was great watching them waving their heads around in the silt for food (without a single twitcher in sight) – even they are rare here.

Semipalmated Plovers

Semipalmated Plovers disguised as rocks

At the moment it’s the dry time of the year and the lagoons are loads smaller and it’s slightly easier to get nearer to the birds. However I nearly walked straight into this flock of semipalmated plovers above. They blended in with the rock so well they were nearly invisible. If they hadn’t squawked I wouldn’t have seen them.

Black Necked Stilt

Black Necked Stilt

I’ve never seen a Stilt before, so I was quite chuffed when I got home and found that the birds with the never-ending legs were just that, stilts (I guess I should have known, doh!). There were quite a few of them at the lagoon, so I will try and go back for another look before I leave. Those legs are just amazing – it makes you wonder how they keep upright.

Prickly Pear Flower

Prickly Pear Flower

In November the prickly pear cactus (which grows wild here) were just that “prickly” and had red “pears”. They are now in full flower. A beautiful tissue thin yellow flower, so full of pollen and nectar that the insects never stop diving in. For some reason I didn’t think the flowers would be this good. Always nice to be surprised…

Sadly the insects were quicker than my photography, so no insects – I will try harder next time!

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~ by Jane on April 19, 2009.

8 Responses to “A walk round the lagoons”

  1. Stunning photo!

  2. Wow! Great stuff Jane. I do like stilts, they make our ‘graceful’ avocets look like heavyweight boxers!

    • Thanks Steve. I’ve never seen a stilt so it was quite exciting for me. Legs all the way up to their armpits (if birds have an armpits – I guess they don’t! LOL). Wish I had legs that long… Jane

  3. The Blue-eyed Dragonfly is amazing – we don’t have those over in the UK – Great pictures too Jane 😀

    • Nope, never seen one with such big eyes in the UK. Not many dragonflies here at the moment but still lovely to see. Jane

  4. These pictures are an absolute feast! I love seeing such an exotic (to me anyway) place through your eyes. I love the photo of the heron by the mangrove roots!

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