The Black-necked Stilts have returned to Lake Trafford as of today! These long-legged wading birds spend the winter down in Central and South America and return to nest in the marshes and mudflats in the Everglades (as well as other places in the southern U.S.).All but one Roseate Spoonbill have left the lake and as if a shift change has occurred, the Stilts have arrived. We have had 1/10 of an inch of rain this month and the lake is down a foot from average. There's a lot of mud exposed so the Stilts should have an easy time creating their simple nests of vegetation on the mud. They lay 3-4 eggs that camouflage perfectly with the mud and even when they hatch out in 3-3 1/2 weeks, the chicks will be mud colored. I'll do my best to get a photo, but I could just take a picture of mud and say they blend in. When I left here in 2000, the state was suffering from a severe drought that was worse than the year before and the year before. And what do you know, we are still experiencing drought. We have several thousands of golf courses where there used to be wetland. There is a new one going in at Palm Beach and they've been granted a special consumption permit to water their sod as soon as they get it in the ground....during the dry season. The $43 million dollar golf course needs the water after all! Never mind that our aquifers are very low and salt water is seeping in. That golf course needs water! As do all of the others. We can't have brown sod! There are well over 6 million people in southern Florida and studies have shown that 5 million is as many as the ecosystem can sustain (and that was an inflated number provided in 1987!)
So as to be less of a hypocrite, I'll be posting our water consumption for the apartment here each month and do my best to keep it low.
As for wading birds like Stilts and Spoonbills, they have long legs for a reason. I hope they'll still have water to wade in in 5 years. For now they're showing a lot of leg.