Thursday, March 10, 2016

Peaceful Waters

Every year we enjoy a get-together with one of my classmates from New Jersey. We stayed together from Kindergarten through High School graduation. He and his wife usually spend February in Florida on Hutchinson Island in Palm Beach County a couple of hours north of our Broward County home. We meet for an early dinner at a steakhouse "in the middle," giving Mary Lou and me the excuse to do some birding on the way up. This year we made our first visit to  Peaceful Waters Park in Wellington, not far from the restaurant.

Peaceful Waters is aptly named, as we had a little trouble finding it, tucked away in the corner of a much larger sports complex. Although we asked some other visitors where it was, they only knew about the various soccer games that were underway on the several fields. We parked near a sign that said "Wetlands Parking," but there were no arrows to point the way, so we simply walked in a direction opposite to all the crowds. On our way we met a couple coming back and they confirmed that we were on the right path, adding "You'll really like it!" So true.

A well-maintained boardwalk meanders through the park's wetlands under heavy clouds. We had a few light showers, but the cloudy conditions produced soft light, ideal for photography:

Peaceful Waters boardwalk HDR 20160221

Before we even entered the boardwalk we saw a Sandhill Crane walking along the berm that encircles the park:

Sandhill Crane 2-20160221

The crane stretched its leg gracefully, like a ballet dancer getting ready for a performance:

Sandhill Crane stretching 20160221

I got a couple of nice portraits. The first demonstrates the crane's binocular vision:

Sandhill Crane portrait 20160221

Sandhill Crane portrait 2-20160221

Then we saw a second crane, tending and guarding a nest containing eggs. We learned they were about ready to hatch:

Sandhill Crane tending nest 20160221

Sandhill Crane at nest 20160221

The crane settled down to continue incubation:

Sandhill Crane on nest 20160221

The park is rich with wildlife. One of my favorite birds is the Purple Gallinule:

Purple Gallinule 02-20160221

The gallinule's long toes enable it to walk across the lily pads:

Purple Gallinule 07-20160221

Dancing cross-step!

Purple Gallinule 03-20160221

The gallinule shows off its "Bigfoot:"

Purple Gallinule 05-20160221

A Common Gallinule is reflected on the calm surface:

Common Gallinule 20160221

A Tricolored Heron forages among the water plants:

Tricolored Heron HDR 01-20160221

Nearby, a Little Blue Heron seems to have an "attitude:"

Little Blue Heron HDR 20160221

A pair of Blue-winged Teal swims by...

Blue-winged Teal 20160221

...and a pair of Mottled Ducks are in courtship mode:

Mottled Ducks 20160221

A Great Egret fishes next to a bed of blooming Pickerel Weed:

Great Egret 03-20160221

Another Great Egret hunts for lizards in the shrubbery along the berm:

Great Egret hunting lizards 20160221

Two male Boat-tailed Grackles compete for "King of the Cypress snag:"

Boat-tailed Grackles 20160221

On our way out, we saw one of the cranes walking along the perimeter fence:

Sandhill Crane 20160221

A Loggerhead Shrike was perched on the fence rail:

Loggerhead Shrike 20160221

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,

Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa). 

Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart


Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display



  1. Marvelous wildlife shots ~ Exquisite! Great fence/walk way shot too!

    Happy Weekend coming to you ~ ^_^

  2. There is going to be a painted bunting banding in Ft. Lauderdale on Monday, the 14th. If you are interested in taking photographs, I will contact the owner for permission. I am going as I live in Dania Beach. This location is off 95 and Davie Blvd.

  3. Hello, Ken! You do see some great birds there. Wonderful spot for a walk and for the birds. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

  4. What terrific bird pictures, and then that inviting board walk.
    Lovely post.

  5. love the crane and gallinule shots! how great that you keep your friendship going all these years.

  6. Beautiful birds here. Lovely mirror like reflections and dramatic skies!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Alex's World! -

  7. Such great, intense, interesting photos of a beautiful place, and its occupants.

  8. What a great photos of these beautiful birds!

  9. I'd enjoy that boardwalk if I was there. I'll settle for your wonderful photos of it and all those great birds. The crane is cool but I must say that bird walking on the lily pads was awesome.

  10. The portrait of the crane is amazing! I love your photos very much.
    Have a great weekend!

  11. Magnifique endroit et superbes animaux !

  12. Wonderful photos! That purple gallinule really stole the show, I think. Love that dance step. LOL Thanks so much.

  13. Some fantastic bird photos. The Purple Gallinule is stunning. I've never seen one of them before. They look similar to another bird I've seen that I don't know the name of as while I love birds I'm not familiar with a lot of their names. I need to get one of those Bird Field Guide books.

  14. Hello Ken, I just wanted to stop back and say thank you for linking up and sharing this post. Happy Saturday, have a great weekend!

  15. I really love the scenery with the boardwalk

  16. Hello Ken!:) Wow! Another great set of bird sightings and fantastic captures. I also think the Purple Gallinnule is a fabulous looking bird. Love the Sandhill Crane shots, and the one of the Shrike.

  17. Amazing photos! And we can never remember Pickerel weed but it's time to see it around here too! Hugs, Diane

  18. We were there at Christmas time and had the same trouble finding it -- were sure we were in the wrong place no matter what Jillian (GPS) kept telling us. So yes, we were there, saw many of the same birds, but your pictures (no surprise) are better. My idea of a perfect trip -- some great birding and then meeting dear friends for a good meal, what could be better.

  19. Beautiful birds! I love that first shot.

  20. Oh, my goodness! These are just some of your that Purple Gallinule. What huge feet it has. Love both herons, too. I just really enjoyed these!

  21. Hello Ken. What a wonderful location for a range of wildlife. Super images, especially the 'big footed' Gallinule.

  22. gorgeous colors on those birds. wow wee, just breathtaking creatures. ( :

  23. What fabulous shots.

  24. Beautiful shots. I've not seen many of the birds you've shown here - perhaps some day!
    Thanks for sharing at

  25. Beautiful place with such lovely birds.

  26. What a beautiful sequence of images, really enjoyable!

  27. I see why the Purple Gallinule is a favorite, what amazing feet! And lily pad feats!

  28. Such amazing photos! Wow! Loved this post! What a great place to visit!

  29. Beautiful....exceptional portraits of 'em all.

    Thank you Ken, for adding your link to this wonderful post for us birders at I'd Rather B Birdin'.

    Hope you enjoyed your visit with friends.


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