Paul's Travel Pictures

Wakodahatchee Wetlands - Delray Beach, FL
Pictures & video clips from the Wakodahatchee Wetlands located in the city of Delray Beach in Palm Beach County Florida.

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Wakodahatchee Wetlands
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Boardwalk Map Sign
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Boardwalk Entrance

The Wakodahatchee Wetlands were created by the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department as a way to recycle highly treated wastewater.

The entrance to the Wakodahatchee Wetlands is located at 13026 Jog Road, Delray Beach, FL 33446. It can be easy to miss because the sign is nestled back in with some landscaping.

Look for it on the East side of Jog Road equidistant between W. Boynton Beach Blvd to the North and W. Atlantic Blvd to the South.

We've been there several times over the last few months so the pictures on these three pages are a mixture of my best shots from those multiple visits.

This attraction is open seven days a week from dawn till dusk and is free to the public. The boardwalk is handicap accessible.

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Wildlife You'll See Here Sign
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Wakodahatchee Welcome Sign
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The word Wakodahatchee originated from the Seminole Indians and translates as "created waters", which is obviously a very fitting name for this 50 acre man made wetlands ecosystem. On a daily basis the Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility pumps about 2 million gallons of treated wastewater into the wetlands. It's hard to believe because the water always seems so peaceful no matter what time of day we go visit. All of the trees, plants and other vegetation work together to further clean the water by filtering out nitrogen and phosphorus. Then the water is slowly absorbed back into our local aquifer to become fresh drinking water once again.
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Resting Area & Bench
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Duckweed Plant Info Sign
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Macaw Pet Bird
Along the Wakodahatchee Wetlands boardwalk you'll see a few informational signs that explain how the ecosystem works, what wildlife you can expect to encounter, the names of the plants, the different types of turtles, and the names of a few of the most common birds. Besides using the signs for identification, you can always ask one of the many friendly photographers lugging their DSLR cameras with massive zoom lenses attached for the name of a bird.
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Two Anhinga Birds
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Photographers
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Plants - Nature's Filters
To provide ideal habitats for the 140+ species of birds that inhabit Wakodahatchee, the designers included a variety of distinct "zones". Some of these are the freshwater marsh, the deep zone, the islands, the open water areas, the shallow shoreline shelves, the forests and the wetlands.
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Gazebo Covered Shelter
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Grassy Berm Between Water
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My favorite type of bird is the Purple Gallinule because of it's bright red & yellow beak, blue forehead and yellow feet. Just a few of the other species that can be found at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands are the Wood Stork, the Great Blue Heron, the Savannah Sparrow, the Great Egret, the White Egret, the Coromant, the Anhinga (Snake Bird), the Red Winged Blackbird, the White Ibis, the Green Heron, the Common Moorhen, the Boat Tailed Grackle, the Pied Billed Grebe, the Snowy Egret, the Tri-Colored Heron, and the Loggerhead Shrike.
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Green Iguana Basking In Sun
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There are several transition points along the 3/4 mile Wakodahatchee boardwalk where the path ends and there is a grassy berm in between the wetland areas. These are good spots to stop for a minute and look for wildlife. We often saw Iguanas, Mallard Ducks, turtles, Mottled Ducks, raccoons, and Marsh Rabbits resting in these areas.
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Anhinga Bird
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Anhinga Fishing
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The four most common turtles found in these wetlands are the Florida Cooter (yellow stripes on neck), the Red-Bellied Turtle, the Red-Eared Slider, and the Florida Softshell.
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Concrete Walk
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Alligator Head In Canal
As we watched the alligator lazily float around the canal, a passing woman told us about the incident she had previously witnessed. Apparently this adolescent alligator had attacked and eaten a Florida Softshell turtle right near the boardwalk.



 

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Male Boat Tailed Grackle
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Marsh Rabbit
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Cabbage Palm, Florida State Tree
Wakodahatchee is definitely a bird watcher's paradise with such a wide variety of bird types to be found such as grebes, cuckoos, shrikes, kingfishers, starlings, crows, owls, jays, wrens, sparrows, pelicans, woodpeckers, thrashers, storks, grosbeaks, orioles, martins, swallows, coots, warblers, terns, cranes, gulls, waterfowl, shorebirds and vultures.
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Shade Pavilion
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Abundant Plant Life
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The birds are obviously the main attraction at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands but there are also Alligators, Marsh Rabbits, turtles, bobcats (I've never seen one), ducks, and raccoons.
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Purple Gallinule Bird
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Eating Fireflag Plant
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Great For Cardio Exercise
We were lucky enough to see a mother raccoon with her four young ones digging for food in the marsh right in front of us on our second trip. As the sun was setting, we saw the family again as they passed precariously close to an alligator waiting for a snack in the canal. If you watch the Raccoon Family Video Clip you'll see what I mean. Don't worry they all got by safely.
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Purple Flowers
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Dabbler Birds Sign
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Great Blue Heron

The sign in the middle of the row above explains the "Dabbling Birds" which are the Green Winged Teal, Blue Winged Teal, Mottled Duck and Mallard Duck. Apparently a "dabbler" is a bird that can turn itself upside down and search for food underwater while it's tail section pokes up out of the water line.

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Heron Hunting In Bushes
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Young Heron Flapping
The "flora" (vegetation) contained within the Wakodahatchee Wetlands isn't as exciting as the "fauna" (wildlife) but it is a critical part of the ecosystem and the area's water recycling purpose. A few of the most notable plant forms here are the live oak, spikerush, cord grass, the Cabbage Palm (Florida's State Tree), reeds, the Sabal Palm, Giant Bulrushes, Duckweed, Arrow Alum, Fireflag, Arrowhead, Pickerelweed, Spatterdock, and the Duck Potato.
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I used my Canon S5 IS to take these pictures and also to capture some video clips while exploring the boardwalk. I edited the short segments using Adobe Premiere into two videos. They are encoded in the Windows Media (.WMV) format and can be viewed by clicking on the links below. Alternatively, you can download the movies to your hard drive by right clicking and choosing "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" depending on which browser you are using.
 
Wakodahatchee Wetlands Wildlife Video Clip     Wakodahatchee Raccoon Family Video Clip

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