On your next trip to Florida, be sure to visit a wastewater reclamation plant. Or visit more than one, I guarantee your senses will enjoy it. You may recall that last week’s Friday Fotos were all taken at the South Central Brevard Wastewater Treatment facility , a/k/a Viera Wetlands. Over the years, many Friday Fotos have been taken there. These facilities take treated wastewater and send them through these developed wetlands for further treatment. Eventually, the water is used for gray-water purposes such as watering lawns or sent to local rivers. The air is filled with the sound of birds—and no odor!
The five ponds at Viera have berms surrounding them that permit cars to drive through and see the wildlife. Many people also bike and walk through the facility. In addition to the birds, I’ve seen otters, raccoons, wild hogs, deer, snakes, turtles, a bobcat and many gators.
Orlando wetlands is a far larger facility and doesn’t permit cars. It is located in nearby Fort Christmas, and like Viera, the finally treated water is released into the St. John’s River.
As would seem to befit Palm Beach County in south Florida, they have two premier facilities. Wakodahatchee Wetlands—or just “Wako”—has boardwalks and paved trails and shelters to get out of the sun. Many birds nest in mangroves or other trees close to the boardwalk. In the image below, Wood Storks, Great Blue Herons, and Anhingas are nesting.
Just a couple miles away is Green Cay Wetlands. The water reclamation facility has a mile and half of boardwalks over water, through pine, palm and hardwood forests and even has a nature center.
One of the pleasures of walking through these facilities is that photographers and birders are eager to share unusual birds that they’ve spotted. It’s not a great image, but I was able to add a bird to my life list at Green Cay. Someone pointed out to me a Chuck-Will’s-Widow blending in a branch. This nocturnal bird, with a name resembling it’s night-time call, is nearly a foot long. I returned the favor spotting an American Bittern at Wako and got a crowd of photographers around me. Those images will come in the future!