Category Archives: Conservancy of Southwest Florida

Wordless Ruby Tuesday, July 7th 2008

Yo, I think deeze are da stairs!
Disney’s Pop Century Hotel
Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
April 21st, 2004

Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Part 3

Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Southwest Florida
Saturday 26 April 2008
Part 3: More About The Mangroves

Dr. Jackson told of a time he went to Costa Rica and visited old growth mangroves, which were a hundred feet tall and 3 feet in diameter. He said we don’t have old growth here in Florida any more because mangroves had been cut down and used to make furniture, but they’re starting to make a comeback. Anyhow, he described walking UNDER the roots of the old growth mangrove trees in Costa Rica, and he said that for him, it was like walking through a cathedral.

Video: Cruising by some mangroves. Audio: Early explorers faced the tangle of the mangroves – and lots of skeeters!

There are a variety of mangroves, and they grow in a sort of wave depending upon how far you are from the shore. Red ones grow in the water, then the black ones, then the white, and finally the buttonwoods grown the furthest inland.

Video: Bookin’ along at a decent speed. Audio: Lots of wind, but beginning of Dr. Jackson talking about Kleptoparasitism which is a kind of piracy amongst living organisms. I believe he was referring to the Magnificent Frigatebird

Dr. Jackson explains that estuaries are shallow, and this allows mangroves to take root and rise to the skies, as well as allowing other plant life to thrive in the water; the shallowness allows for sunlight to reach the bottom, giving rise to photosynthesis.

A new baby mangrove island just starting out

Another mangrove island

And yet another mangrove island

Because photosynthesis can happen in the shallow waters of this bay, grasses and other plants can grow here, providing food, hiding places, and nursery grounds for many, many forms of wildlife. This includes the mangrove islands.

Video: Panning a mangrove island where lots of birds are settling down for the evening. Audio: talking about clam seeds that start out as parasites

Video: Cruising by mangroves. Audio: Describing fish farms/hatcheries

Many of the life forms that thrive in the rookery and the mangrove islands can also thrive elsewhere, but there are a few that are found exclusively in the mangroves. The one that Dr. Jackson mentioned was the the mangrove cuckoo

NEXT TIME: Popular inhabitants of the rookery

Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Part 2

Sunset Cruise on Rookery Bay, Southwest Florida
Saturday 26 April 2008

Part 2: Into The Rookery

Dr. Jerry Jackson


Dr. Jerry Jackson is a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University. He’s kindly and energetic, and demonstrates a keen, bubbling-over enthusiasm for his subject, namely – birds! Dr. Jackson doesn’t always do this eco-tour; I have the impression it was a special treat for all us public radio geeks who listen to his radio spot on WGCU every morning.

Dr. Jackson displays a bird’s skull


What’s a Rookery?

He started off by telling us about the word “rookery”, which he points out has “rook” at it’s root, which is a European crow. Indeed, dictionary.com tells us that this is so, and also points out that “rook” can also mean “to swindle”. Perhaps the verb arises from a crow’s proptensity to swipe things. So if a crow is a “rook”, then a crow’s nesting place is a “rookery”, a term which came to be more broadly applied to places where any types of birds have their colonies.

The Importance of Mangroves

A little mangrove island with some critters hanging out

Dr. Jackson apparently loves words nearly as much as he loves birds, for he went on to expound upon the word “mangrove, remarking that the roots look like the legs and feet of a “man”, and that they grow in a “grove” or tight grouping.

A display of mangrove roots

A tricolor heron rests in the tangle of the mangrove roots

An egret wades for his dinner among the mangrove roots

NEXT TIME: More about the mangrove islands and their inhabitants.