Rooted and Grounded
These white feathered and yellow footed members of the Heron family are abundant in South Florida waters, often seen stalking about water's edge hunting, or fluffing out their feathers in an amazing contortion of plumage to impress a potential mate. I photographed this one for reference as he was preening after a day of feeding on fish and frogs in the nearby waters, and could understand why his long white feathers were once gathered to adorn the hats of fashionable ladies, which nearly wiped out their population. Now protected, the mismanagement of fresh water releases from algae packed Lake Okechobee threatens their watery homes, as well as the well-being of other creatures that live in the salt marshes and brackish waters of South Florida's coasts. Much needed is a simple reversal of the flow toward its original southern coarse through the Everglades, which can restore the numbers of water fowl, fish and manatee before they return to endangered status.