|Out There! eMagazine
Real stories by real people
about their outdoor adventures in the Titusville Florida area.
Ecotourism on Florida's Space Coast
What a Gold Mine at the Water Reclamation Facility
January 6, 2005
I left home before sun-up thinking the fog was surprising this morning - probably won't see anything. It had been a long time since I had been to the Titusville Blue Heron Water Reclamation Plant, what with terror alert level changes causing the gates to be closed often and on weekends. Plus there was no longer entry after 3:30 PM. The afternoons and sunset had provided good photo opportunities.
The gate was open; I signed in, and drove to the rear of the plant to begin the drive on the diked water impoundment wetlands one-direction road. No bird life at all along the road heading south. The sun was slowly rising through the fog so I stopped to take a shot or two. Back in the car I arrived at the South end with not much wildlife. The sun peaked out and I glanced at the cabbage palms on my left to see if any birds were beginning to nest in them. In the past Anhinga and Great Blue Heron would make their nests there raising their young.
Anhinga and Great Blue Heron were on almost every cabbage palm. And that wasn't all, the Anhinga were drying out their wings from the morning dew and fog and many of the cabbage palm had two Great Blues at each tree. The sun angle was perfect - over my back toward the palms and morning was beautifully breaking. I saw single Great Blues leaving and wondered if they were going to find food. Then one-by-one they came back, one carrying a fish, most bringing sticks and reeds. They shared the sticks with their mate and both fitted the stick in the palm to begin the nest. I think the one with the fish ate it without sharing.
One landed in the water near the palm and waded up to its chest finding a stick. It flew back up turning the stick over to its mate. Then I saw a pair mating, my that seemed violent, it held its mate's neck down with his beak. Pair after pair did the same thing then the male would leave to find more sticks. Two others kissed by touching beaks together and their neck feathers fluffed out while they did.
That lasted for an hour or so and the sun rose higher. I left thinking how blessed I had been to witness a thing so personal in all of nature.
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