St. Augustine, FL
October 28, 2015
Fort Mose (Moh-Say) Historic State Park is a 40 acre waterfront historic site with picnic areas, one observation and birding boardwalk, a kayak launch, and a visitor center.
Although none of the earth and wooden structures remain, visitors can still view the land where once a legally sanctioned free African settlement was.
In 1994, this site was designated as a National Historic Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
|There was only one other person there this day. There is a turn in the boardwalk just ahead of the birder. That is where we saw the wood storks. I was thrilled! My first sighting of this magnificent creature.|
There were four wood storks in the tree fairly close to the boardwalk.
Wood Storks are large, white, bald-headed wading birds of the southeastern swamps.
These are the only stork breeding in the United States.
Their late winter breeding season is timed to the Florida dry season when its fish prey become concentrated in shrinking pools.
That is important because a couple with two fledglings can eat over 400 pounds of fish during a single breeding season.
They stand nearly 4 feet tall with a wingspan of about 5 feet.
For over 30 years the wood stork was on the Endangered species list. An estimated 20,000 breeding pairs dropped to roughly 5,000 pairs from the 1930s to the 1970s. In 2014 they were upgraded to a Threatened Species with as many as 9,000 breeding adults reported.
Wood storks are quite social...they feed in flocks and nest in large rookeries with several pairs in a single tree.
(or, "The End" as Judy would say!)