Tuesday April 5th 2022
There was a strong wind out of the south today. It helped keep the outside temperature a little more comfortable than Monday. Overall the high temperature was near ninety with plenty of humidity.
Today I drove deeper into the park in search of the elusive wading birds. At the boardwalk designed to aid bird watching near the north end of the lake all I found were tourists. The birds were nowhere to be found. In the past there have been many varieties of birds out in the lake. I walked out to the end of the boardwalk looked around for birds and walked back in just like all the tourists.
My other stop was at the concessionaire area in the park. The boat rides into the lake are not running because of the low water level and the tram ride only runs on the weekend. They were doing some business renting bicycles, but I didn’t see anyone renting kayaks or canoes. The low water level is also an obstacle to paddling.
Since I was here in December a major watershed restoration project has been completed. They removed the weir at the entrance to the Myakka River that attempted to keep the water level constant in the lake. It had been mostly bypassed in recent years, but a major project during the first part of this year removed all of the old weir, regraded the river banks in the area and allowed for the free flow of water into the river. The alligators that used to congregate in the area have moved to other areas. They may return with higher water levels. The wildlife that hasn’t moved is all the Rosetta Spoonbills that hang out in a set of trees on the far side of the river close to the location of the old weir. The trees were full of the pink and white birds.
Later in the day walking to the river from my campsite I found a few more birds. A Great Blue Heron seemed to be posing for my camera. One minute it was looking right at me from the far bank and the next it was giving me a left profile picture followed by a right. Near the bridge over the river on the main park road a pair of Limpkins were busy foraging for food between pauses to squawk at each other. Alligators continue to be everywhere along the river.