Visiting South Lido last week was a very rewarding experience. I really enjoy class discussions and documentaries, but I will always prefer getting outside to experience biodiversity firsthand. I have been to South Lido multiple times, as well as kayaked through the mangrove tunnels, so I am familiar with the area. As a Florida native, the wildlife here is not as new and bizarre to me as it might be to others, especially those who do not live on a coast. However, I tried to be particularly observational on this walk in an attempt to make connections that I hadn’t before.
A small pod of dolphins, appearing in the distance shortly after our arrival, welcomed us to South Lido. An osprey tried for a second time to grab a fish, but missed. Even before we started our walk there are things happening all around us and I’m really grateful that we have places like this to explore these types of courses.
We saw many types of birds during our short time at Lido. Gulls, terns, ibis, plovers, herons, and cormorants were amongst the many different types of seabirds we were able to observe. However, we did not see the black skimmers that are still grouped together at the end of North Lido, which makes me wonder if the quality and selection of fish is different enough down on the North for the birds to prefer it to the South end, or if it was just where they happened to settle this year. In addition to the shorebirds we saw a couple of osprey hunting in the area. I do not recall seeing any songbirds during our walk.
Other than a single squirrel, I did not see any mammals on our trip. We did observe raccoon tracks, though.
Most of lido is scrub. There are not many significantly tall trees and when there were they were spread out, not clumped tightly together like the mangroves and high scrub and grasses. It makes me wonder how many mammals this small area can support, other than a certain amount of raccoons that scavenge the trash around the area probably as frequently as they forage naturally. In addition, I wonder what types of small birds make their homes in the forested parts of Lido.
I noticed that the shelling was not particularly great during our trip to Lido. I’ve been to this part of the beach during some great shelling days when I find everything from sand dollars to olives to conchs. Last time I was there, the water was full of starfish. It’s always different. On this particular day the water was clear, but virtually shell-less. Other than some dead moon jellyfish and a couple of crabs, the ocean itself was rather quiet.
What interests me a lot, but that I know little about, is the plant life around south Florida. I tried to pay close attention on our walk, but the amount of plant diversity just within this one area was overwhelming. Since I don’t have much knowledge when it comes to classifying plants, I didnt know where to start and everything kind of blended together after a while. I did notice our native cactus, though. To me, the cacti here represent just how bizarre and interesting Florida biodiversity is. I believe this area and the state as a whole is largely underrated and overlooked. It is a truly unique and magnificent place. I look forward to more walks on the beach and chances to broaden my knowledge about the area’s biodiversity.
Gulls and terns.
Small costal flowering plant that I was unable to identify.
Prickly Pear Cactus and grasses.
– Jay Barry