There’s definitely something in the air. Spring is here and Lake Okeechobee’s marsh is bursting with life. In the last few weeks, our Audubon team has had multiple adventures on the lake. A few week’s ago Audubon Florida’s Dr. Paul Gray and Jane Graham explored the Lake’s northern marshes with SFWMD Governing Board member Glenn Waldman and his wife Sheryl on a sunny day. A few days later, Jane explored the south end of the Lake with Mary Ann Martin as part of a trip for the Water Resources Advisory Commission. And on April 7, we celebrated the first annual Everglades Day out on Lake Okeechobee.
We saw Everglade Snail Kites foraging for apple snails in the marsh. In the last few years, the population of this endangered bird has rebounded on the Lake, due in part their ability to adapt to exotic apple snails as a food source. Click here to learn more about Everglade Snail Kite nesting throughout the Everglades.
A few Anhingas nested atop a tree a tree island, as a few Great Blue Herons swooped around foraging for food. An alligator sunned itself the the bank.
Lake levels are relatively deep and shorebird habitat is sparse but we found a flock of a couple hundred birds including Long-billed Dowitchers, Stilt and Least Sandpipers, both Yellowlegs, Killdeer and Stilts in the northern marsh. Black-necked Stilts have the longest legs in relation to their body size of any bird in the world. There were also Caspian Terns, which are fairly common around the Lake.
On the south end of the Lake, we boated by a spoil island with around thirty Brown Pelicans and other wading birds.
Have you recently explored Lake Okeechobee?What did you see?
For more updates, follow the Everglade Snail Kite on Facebook.