National Geographic : 1940 Jan
SOUTH FLORIDA'S AMAZING EVERGLADES Occasionally a white pelican came sailing along, gliding low over the water like a fat-bodied amphibian air plane. After several hours of watching the shifting pano rama of bird life, Chandler steered the boat toward the mouth of the Indian Prairie Canal. Overgrown with water plants, the mouth of the canal, the shal low bay there, and the marshes reaching out on either side, all combine to form an ideal feeding ground for birds. They kept us busy with the binoculars, Mr. Sprunt and the warden calling out the name of each additional species sighted. High overhead. seven white peli cans soared in formation. Stand ingonapileof coral rock thrown up in the digging of the canal were Caspian terns, laughing gulls, and herring gulls. cies fed on aquatic Photograph by S. A . Grimes A ROSEATE SPOONBILL PERFORMS A BALANCING ACT Head down and wings upraised, it steps gingerly along a shaky branch on an island in Alligator Lake, on Cape Sable. This striking adult spoonbill has a yellowish-green head, white neck, back, and breast, and rose-pink body and wings. Its tail coverts and shoulders are splotched with carmine. Among the Ten Thousand Islands the author saw two flocks totaling 50 individuals, esti mated as half the remaining spoonbill population in Florida (page 142). Ducks of various spe vegetation. Flocks of white and glossy ibises rose from the marsh. Black-necked stilts waded daintily in the shallows. A bald eagle flapped in the dis tance and from a thick stand of reeds beside the mouth of the canal some 200 red-winged blackbirds kept up a ceaseless chorus. It seemed that Chandler was poling the boat into a strange world, the only inhabit ants of which were birds. Each few feet the boat moved brought additional'species into view. In not more than 20 minutes, 34 species were seen. Permitting the boat to float motionless, we sat watching the teem ing bird life about us. Never had I seen so many species of wild birds in one spot. ONE OF 30 EVERGLADE KITES But there was to be a spectacular climax even to this impressive assemblage. The warden was poling the boat back out of the shallow bay when Mr. Sprunt half rose to his feet, rocking the craft and staring to ward the mouth of the canal.