The Wait for the Roseate Spoonbill

For decades I’ve traveled to southeast Florida with my family. But it wasn’t until a trip two years ago that we discovered Wakodahatchee Wetlands thanks to a friend. Now, every time I’m there, I drag whomever I’m with to the manmade marsh.

This time, it was my mom.

Though not a birder herself, she didn’t hesitate when I asked her to get up before 7 on her vacation to go to Wakodahatchee, then to another nearby birding hotspot called Green Cay Wetlands. Shortly after we arrived, an awesome birding couple—every Tuesday they try to “out bird” themselves there—told us about six roseate spoonbills behind a set of reeds about 500 feet away.

My mom only knew these birds as pink creatures that somewhat resembled flamingos, yet she steeled herself for a wait. They were bound to fly soon, she told me, ever the optimist. She was determined. Twenty minutes passed and all we’d seen were distant rosy splotches behind a heck of a lot of green.

Eventually, we continued on the mile-long boardwalk. When we rounded the corner to where we’d previously been waiting, there stood a spoonbill no more than 20 feet away, its awesome oar-shaped bill swooshing back and forth under the water in search of food. The thrill—of seeing the bird up close and hearing my mom’s excitement—made it so worth the wait.

Here are a few pictures from that awesome day:

Roseate spoonbill.

Wood stork.

Black-crowned night heron.

Black-necked stilt on a nest.

A great blue heron adult and two chicks.

Blue-winged teal.

All photos by Michele Berger.

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