Tuesday, February 14, 2017

South Florida retention pond

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Limpkin, Boynton Beach FL
This Limpkin walked around the pond, passing maybe 25 feet from the house. Not especially skittish.

One prominent feature of the South Florida landscape are the retention ponds. Every housing development has one, sometimes several; it's typical to see a circle of houses with a little pond in the middle.

These ponds aren't very deep, and aren't too clean, but they help contain runoff and keep oil and fertilizer and other pollutants out of the water supply. Plus, where there's water, there will be birds, especially since the ponds often have some fish in them.

Our friends Adam and Judy live in a South Florida development, and have a little retention pond in the backyard. The homeowners' association hasn't done much landscaping around it, so it's just a pool at the end of the lawn, but they still have birds, which we greatly enjoyed when we visited last month. There was a big flock of White Ibises that hung out must days like huge pigeons.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; White Ibises, Boynton Beach FL
acting like they own the place

And a pair of Limpkns were frequently present.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Limpkin Boynton Beach FL
Limpkins foraging

I'm guessing they were a mated pair, since I saw them passing food between them.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Limpkin Boynton Beach FL

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Limpkin, Boynton Beach FL
At evening the Limpkins flew across the pond, giving an raspy call.

Occasionally there was a Great Egret, and once a Great Blue Heron. At sunset, ducks would settle on the pond and around the shore; usually Mottled Ducks, but our last evening there thirty or so Ring-Necked Ducks decided to spend the night there.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Great Blue Heron, Boynton Beach FL
Great Blue Heron on a drainage pipe

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Great Egret, Boynton Beach FL
Great Egret at work

Plus there were flyovers by Osprey, Turkey Vulture, Kestrel, Merlin, and Peregrine Falcon--that really made the Ibises jump--and a visit by a Royal Tern who fished for a while and then flew on.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Royal Tern, Boynton Beach FL
Tern hovering on the hunt

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Royal Tern, Boynton Beach FL
Tern in the evening sky

Oh, I didn't even mention the Anhingas, or the Cormorants, or the Killdeer... I think we had 16 species, Just amazing stuff to find in the backyard.

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