Friday, March 27, 2009

Harns Marsh

On Wednesday, after our friends Mike and Mel left, Bill and I headed to Lehigh Acres to visit Harns Marsh. The marsh is a 578 acre preserve that is part of the East County Water Control District and one of the area’s major stormwater retention/detention facilities.

ECWCD and Lee County have slated Harns Marsh as a regional park with trails and boardwalks scheduled to be built in 2011. The variety and quantity of birds is amazing. We saw Herons, Egrets, Ibis, Coots, Ducks, Yellowlegs, Kingfishers, Hawks and a Snail Kite (see next post). Crested Caracara have been spotted, but we did not see any.

The spring flowers were in full bloom.

I've never seen so many American Coot together in one place!

I wish this Belted Kingfisher had been closer so I could have gotten a better picture. I also saw a couple of alligators - one swimming and the other sunning on the shore.

This is a Yellowlegs - but I don't know if it is a Lesser Yellowlegs (10 1/2 inches tall) or a Greater Yellowlegs (14 inches.)

There were dozens of the small Tricolored Herons darting around looking for food.

The Ibis were everywhere - both White Ibis and Glossy Ibis. I was taken by their colors - the White Ibis have BRIGHT red bills and legs and the Glossy Ibis shine in the sun with flashes of red, blue, purple and green.

Harns Marsh is definitely a place I will return to again!

Yesterday we made what is probably our last trip to Lovers Key this season. I wanted to check and see if the Least Terns had returned from South America to nest along the beach. The barricades have been put up and a couple of Least Terns have been spotted, but they have not yet started to build their nests. Least Terns look like small Royal Terns.

I did see Sandpipers - lots of Sandpipers. I think the larger ones are either the common Spotted Sandpiper or Willets. I don't know what the small ones are - even after looking them up in my books. This is an area I need to work on!

On the way back to Fort Myers I saw these ducks swimming in a community lake. At first I though they were a pair of Mallards - but now I'm not so sure. The front one may be a Mottled Duck. Some people think they are the same species - so I guess it's OK that I'm confused.

We also found a Mangrove Preserve with a boardwalk out to the river. This is a Mangrove Crab.

The Anoles are everywhere - but I like them.

It's sad to think that we leave in less than 3 days - but the good news is that we will stop in North Carolina to visit my sister for a couple of days.

I've heard reports that Colorado had an "EPIC" blizzard yesterday and everything is closed today. I do not want to go back to that kind of weather - but I am ready to plant our garden and visit with our Colorado friends.

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