Birding Escapes: Wakodahatchee Wetlands, FloridaBy Bobby Harrison
October 15, 2008
During the past decade, Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach has emerged as one of South Florida’s hottest birding locales. Wakodahatchee—a Seminole word meaning “Created Waters”—lies in the heart of a vast mega-metropolis reaching from Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale. But this 56-acre wetland, with its open ponds, emergent marshes, and forested wetlands, provides an oasis from urban sprawl for more than 150 bird species, including wading birds, waterfowl, rails, bitterns, and passerines.
Although Wakodahatchee is a good place to watch birds year round, the best time to visit is from mid-January to April, when birds are most active and are in their beautiful breeding plumage. This is also prime time for bird photography. A long boardwalk provides access to the heart of the wetland, where nesting herons, egrets, and Anhingas are within easy camera range. Wakodahatchee is also one of the best places to observe and photograph secretive birds such as the Sora, at right, and bitterns as they feed along the reedy edges of the open ponds.