Breakfast on the Broward
Good morning from the sunny but muggy Broward. Hope all of you had a nice Fourth of July Weekend. I am sure plenty of grilled burgers and hotdogs were enjoyed by some of you. My feathered friends on the marsh have another favorite fare. Fresh Fish a la Broward. They fly in from every point of the compass to enjoy these delectable fish delights. Grab your coffee cup and lets enjoy some with them.
The first fly-over with fresh fish is a local male Osprey.
One of this raptors favorite fish is the flounder that is found in the
shallow incoming tides on mud flats on the river. Finding it is one thing, catching
and carrying it is another, especially when the fish is nearly as big as the
bird carrying it. This Osprey is pumping feathers for all it is worth just to carry
this huge flounder meal. Its unique
ability to carry the fish in a fore and aft position with its claws makes it
more easily flown in the airstream. Where there is a will there is a way. Hmmm, evolutionary adaptation or intelligent design....I vote for the latter.
The incoming tide also brings with it some large schools of bait fish and minnows. I catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye of a large Royal Tern swooping in low over the channel. I turn to focus and get off two quick clicks of the doohickey before it is gone with its treasure wriggling in its beak. To my right there is a veritable fish smorgasbord offering and plenty of takers. I count at least five species of marsh birds in the shallow tide. There are three Wood Storks, a Great Egret, two Snowy Egrets, a juvenile Little Blue Heron, and a Tri-colored Heron all gathered in the small channel area hunting small bait fish and minnows. No one goes hungry today. As I watch them hunt and catch I notice the Wood Storks using a particularly clever method. They raise one of the wings like a cape to see the fish better and/or spook them towards their waiting open beaks. They also use one of their feet at the same time in a sweeping motion to encourage the fish to swim towards the beaks where they are quickly snatched and devoured. One poor bird though lost a fish trying to flip it up in the air to swallow it…the fish had other plans for breakfast it seems.
The Egrets seem opportunistic and closely follow the storks hoping they will scare up some fish for them or perhaps grab a snack from the stork if the chance arises. The Snowy Egret is comical as it fluffs its feathers and spots a fish and starts to chase it down. The two Heron species do their own thing and are quickly rewarded. One by the birds begin to leave, satisfied and well fed. About that time my camera also says “Memory Card Full”. Time to go.
As I walk down the dock once again I am reminded of the heavenly promise that declares; “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Indeed you are. I leave you with this patriotic Red (ok pink) White and Blue Bird Salute. Be Blessed. Harry