Monday, June 9, 2014

Nothing Lasts Forever Out Here

In the Everglades, things change. Mostly, the change is so subtle as to not be noticed by a frequent visitor. But occasionally, a change comes dramatically, usually at the whim of the wind or water. In Florida Bay, there is (was) a small mangrove tree that stood alone, about 1/4 mile from the Flamingo marina and near the channel that exits out toward a distant key in the bay. Anyone who has been to Flamingo knows what tree I speak of. Here is an image of it taken back in 2007 with my friend David fishing near it.

Four years after the above photo was taken, I took another shot of this beautiful tree that served as a roosting spot for egret, pelicans and cormorants, and as a nest canopy for osprey. Compared to its form in 2007, the tree looked thinner and a bit worn around the edges. But still standing strong.

 Last year, an osprey nest stood out high on the tree and I was able to get close enough to capture the female parent and a chick. Compare to the two years prior, the tree looks leaner still.

 On Sunday, I paddled from the marina with the intention of capturing some wading birds near Snake Bight with the low tide around 7 am and an incoming the remaining morning hours. This is perfect tide conditions for me to shoot birds in the canoe.  I spent most of my time chasing this guy (gal) around.

Also found the croc I photographed up close and personal last year. This time, it was not so cooperative. And always a remarkable siting in the summer were three white pelicans swimming casually in the bay.

Although it was a gorgeous morning on the water with perfect conditions, I felt sad. As I left the marina in the morning, I noticed the beautiful tree was down. This was my first visit to Flamingo since March and apparently the tree has been down for several weeks already. I asked about the osprey and a ranger believes that the young were fledged at the time. I can only hope so. Snagged in the nest were several skeletons of fish and maybe other animals as well.

My trips to Flamingo will never be the same. But then again, they never are.

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