Wacko-da-huh?

When people hear I used to be a professional photographer they always ask, Do you still shoot?

I usually shrug and say, Only with my phone, almost wincing as I say this. I mean, the iPhone camera’s amazing. But still.

The truth is, I do pull my old Canon out from time to time, but not often. I have some chronic neck and shoulder issues (from years of schlepping heavy camera gear I’m sure) so I find it difficult to carry the camera for too long now, but when I do pull it out it’s almost always to shoot a bird. The red-bellied woodpecker in our traveler palm, the pretty pair of cardinals in the crepe myrtle, the troop of ibis marching across our front lawn. I’m a little bird crazy. So is Tim. It’s one of the things we share.

So when we decided to head back to Wakodahatchee Wetlands this weekend (our first visit had been Christmas day), I knew I had to bring my “real” camera.

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I have to admit it took awhile before I could properly say Wakodahatchee (it’s WAK-o-dah-HAT-chee). There are lots of places here with tongue-twister names like this… Loxahatchee, Immokalee, Okeeheelee… results of the Seminole tribe that settled South Florida long ago. It takes a little getting used to.

Wakodahatchee means “created waters,” which is exactly what it is… manmade wetlands created by the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department some twenty years ago to recycle and further purify water from the nearby treatment facility, more than two-million gallons per day. The project, which must have seemed quite progressive back in the 90s, transformed 50+ acres of former percolation ponds into various wetland zones to support a mixture of habitat types. Elevated boardwalks dotted with interpretive signs circle through the park allowing close-up viewing of wildlife while inspiring and educating visitors about the importance of water conservation.

So far we’ve seen alligators, iguanas, turtles, frogs, marsh rabbits, and lots and lots of birds (park info boasts more than 140 different species). It’s part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. It’s awesome. And it’s right in Delray.

Here are a few shots from our weekend visit (if you click any image you can view larger in slideshow).

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