Saturday, March 12, 2016

Florida Wetlands in the Florida Aquarium

Sorry to give you another aquarium tour.  But just as art museums differ so completely from city to city, the same can be said for aquariums.  The Florida Aquarium, however, is the biggest and best of the ones located near where we are parked.  The first section we visited here was the Florida Wetlands, which features creatures found among the coastal mangroves as well the cypress swamps.
This aquarium is part zoo, in this area we saw alligators, river otters and free-flying birds.  Hope you are not expecting to see fish in this posting, the birds were so close in proximity to us that I could not refrain from taking pictures of them!  Some may be repeated from previous postings.  Pictured above is a yellow-crowned night heron.  He was the first bird to catch my eye.
Pictured above is a ruddy duck, one of several in a species of stiff-tailed ducks.  The breeding male has a blue beak and conspicuous white cheeks.  After seeing him,  my attention was drawn to another duck who was being quite vocal.  He is the fulvous whistling-duck, a goose-like duck known for his whistling calls.
  By the way, a brownish-yellow color is called fulvous.  He is the bird on the left side of the picture below.
The other bird in that picture is a roseate spoonbill.  In the picture below he can be seen raising a fuss with a snowy egret who just is not too upset about whatever is bothering the pink bird.
No, the squawking bird has not raised the plumes of the snowy egret.  That is just how the breeding adult looks.  Because of those beautiful plumes the bird was almost hunted to extinction at the turn of the twentieth century.  Women just had to have those feathers in their hats.
Another interesting duck with unique features is the hooded merganser.  In flight his crest is flattened.  He is a sea duck but in winter can be found chiefly in fresh water.  The aquarium does feature fish found in the waters of Florida, as a variety of gar and bluegill.  They just do not have the beautiful colors and unusual features which we saw in other fish of the aquarium.  They will be in my next posting.

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