Apollo Beach in Hillsborough County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Long-Legged Wading Birds Stalk the Shallows
Great Blue Heron
This is the largest member of the heron family. Its long legs allow it to wade in deeper water than the other herons. The great blue’s powerful neck whips its sharp beak at its prey with great speed. Its favorite meal is fish, but will eat almost any small animal.
This gray-blue heron with a ruffled neck and white belly is very common in south Florida estuaries. An extremely slender bird that uses graceful movements as it searches for fish. To avoid detection by its prey, the tri-colored heron will stand motionless among the grasses with its bill pointing upward.
This small, white member of the heron family has a black beak, black legs and bright yellow feet. Unlike other members of the heron family, the snowy egret shuffles its feet in the water when fishing to stir up shrimp, crabs, insects, and fish.
This large white bird is almost as tall as the great blue heron. It has greenish-yellow legs and a deep guttural croak. The great egret feeds alone, stalking fish, snakes and crustaceans in shallow water.
Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
As a night hunter, this heron usually sleeps in trees during the day. The yellow-crowned night-heron can be recognized by the black and white markings on its head. Unlike other herons, it likes to eat crabs — especially fiddler crabs.
This large pink bird hunts for food by swinging its spoon-shaped bill from side to side through shallow water. The six-inch long beak is very sensitive to touch, allowing the roseate spoonbill to feel for small fish, crabs, shrimp and water insects.
Little Blue Heron
This is one of the most common herons in the South and may be observed living among other herons and egrets. The adults are slate blue with maroon necks. The young are white with gray bills. They feed on small fish and insects.
This large stocky bird is usually seen diving dramatically into the water in the pursuit of fish or quietly floating with its bill resting on its breast. It is an expert diver with a massive bill and throat pouch. The brown pelican uses its pouch to separate the fish it catches from the water.
The white obis is a long-legged wading bird with an orange beak. Its long, thin beak is sensitive and curves downward. It is perfect for digging through water-soaked mud as the bird feels for insects, worms, fiddler crabs, and small fish.
The cormorant has a dark body, long neck, orange throat pouch, slender hooked bill and webbed feet. It is an excellent swimmer and diver and catches fish underwater. The cormorant can be seen holding its bill upward when swimming or standing upright with its wings spread to dry when perched.
The osprey, or fish hawk, has a distinctive “m” shaped wing and a unique flight style that makes it instantly recognizable. Its wings are long and narrow with rounded edges and a black rectangular patch at the wrist. The osprey’s bright white chest and mottled necklace are also visible from below as it hunts for fish, its only food source. The osprey will flap and glide above the water, stopping to hover briefly and then dive for its prey.
Water Management District
Alafia River Basin Board
Hillsborough River Basin Board
Drawings Courtesy of City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department
Location. 27° 47.557′ N, 82° 24.074′ W. Marker is in Apollo Beach, Florida, in Hillsborough County. Marker is on Dickman Rd. Touch for map. Marker is located inside the park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6690 Dickman Rd, Apollo Beach FL 33572, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Storm Water and the Estuary (here, next to this marker); Manatee Scar Identification (here, next to this marker); The Life Cycle of the Monarch Butterfly (here, next to this marker); What Role Do Mangroves Play In An Estuary? (here, next to this marker); Listen carefully to hear a manatee! (approx. 0.2 miles away); Do You See a Manatee? (approx. 0.2 miles away); A Butterfly’s Habitat (approx. ¼ mile away); De Soto Trail (approx. 5.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Apollo Beach.
Also see . . .
1. Great Blue Heron. Look for Great Blue Herons in saltwater and freshwater habitats, from open coasts, marshes, sloughs, riverbanks, and lakes to backyard goldfish ponds. They also forage in grasslands and agricultural fields. Breeding birds gather in colonies or “heronries” to build stick nests high off the ground. (Submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
2. Tricolored Heron. A medium-sized, slender heron of the southeastern United States, the Tricolored Heron was formerly known as the Louisiana Heron. (Submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
3. Snowy Egret. They are most common along the coast, though they do breed patchily in inland wetlands. Snowy Egrets nest colonially, usually on protected islands, and often with other small herons. They concentrate on mudflats, beaches, and wetlands, but also forage in wet agricultural fields and along the edges of rivers and lakes. (Submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
4. Great Egret. You’ll find Great Egrets in both freshwater and saltwater habitats. They are colonial nesters, typically placing stick nests high in trees, often on islands that are isolated from mammalian predators such as raccoons. (Submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
5. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. They are most common in coastal wetlands barrier islands, saltmarshes, drainage ditches, and mangroves; they also occur inland along bottomland forests, swamps, and sometimes wet lawns or fields. (Submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
6. Roseate Spoonbill. A bizarre wading bird of the southern coasts, the Roseate Spoonbill uses its odd bill to strain small food items out of the water. Its bright pink coloring leads many Florida tourists to think they have seen a flamingo. (Submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
7. Little Blue Heron. Look for Little Blue Herons on quiet waters ranging from tidal flats and estuaries to streams, swamps, and flooded fields. They are usually found in only small numbers at any one water body, often tucked into hidden corners. (Submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
8. Brown Pelican. Brown Pelicans live along southern and western sea coasts and are rarely seen inland (except at the Salton Sea in California, where they are regular in large numbers). They nest in colonies, often on isolated islands free of land predators. (Submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
9. White Ibis. White Ibises are wetland birds. They use freshwater marshes, coastal estuaries, mangroves, flooded pastures, mudflats, and swamps. They usually forage in shallow areas with less than 8 inches of water, but they also use lawns and parks especially in southern Florida. (Submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
10. Double-crested Cormorant. Double-crested Cormorants are the most widespread cormorant in North America, and the one most frequently seen in freshwater. They breed on the coast as well as on large inland lakes. They form colonies of stick nests built high in trees on islands or in patches of flooded timber. (Submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
11. Osprey. Look for Ospreys around nearly any body of water: saltmarshes, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, estuaries, and even coral reefs. Their conspicuous stick nests are placed in the open on poles, channel markers, and dead trees, often over water. (Submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
Categories. • Animals • Environment •
Credits. This page was last revised on August 7, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 71 times since then. Photo 1. submitted on August 3, 2017, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.