In early spring least terns return from wintering grounds in
Latin America. They soon pair up using courtship rituals in which
hopeful males offer small fish to prospective mates. The shorebirds
nest in very shallow depressions on broad expanses of bare sand,
which camouflage the eggs. They lay from mid-April in south Florida
to the first of May in the north, and the eggs hatch after 21 days.
The young leave the nest in a few days, but don't begin to fly
safely until about three weeks later.
An exhibit hall with a multi-level aquarium, walking trails, a bike
trail and an observation tower help introduce visitors to this
1500-acre mangrove wetland and ongoing efforts to remove nonnative
vegetation and restore native plant communities.
Invertebrates such as fiddler crabs, mangrove crabs and snapping
shrimp are visible or audible in the mangroves. Take the Mud Flat
Trail or Observation Trail for good views of this habitat. White
ibis, great blue heron, yellow-crowned night herons, roseate
spoonbills, ospreys and kingfishers hunt the shallow waters of West
Lake. Wilson's plovers and spotted sandpipers probe the mudflats.
Mullet, snook and mangrove snapper are common in the lake. The
South Trail provides good views of the mangrove restoration areas.
Visitors can rent canoes and kayaks and follow well-marked canoe
trails or opt for a 40-minute narrated boat tour.
Broward County Parks and Recreation Division.
From I-95 head east on Sheridan Street past Federal Highway. West
Lake Park's entrance will be on the south (right) side; the Anne
Kolb Nature Center is a half-mile east of West Lake's entrance on
the north (left) side.
Other South East
Florida Wildlife Sites