2011 End of Season Report

 

Photo by Sue Jarrett

2011 Best in Show photo contest winner

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Rookery had a phenomenal nesting season this year with over 800 nests counted within two acres of habitat!  This season smashed the previous record of 395 nests back in 2008.  Drought conditions and the large number of wading birds within the rookery have been hard on the trees this year.  A dozen cypress trees have been purchased for planting this fall.  They, along with the addition of a few man-made bulkheads, will aid in bank retention and revitalize existing tree health.

MAX ADULT MAX NEST MAX CHICK
Cattle egret 383 294 364
Great egret 204 154 94
Green heron 5 5 9
Little Blue heron 33 24 38
Roseate spoonbill 81 16 36
Snowy egret 231 170 230
Tricolored heron 102 87 184
Wood stork 69 68 123
TOTALS: 1108 818 1078

 

The Roseate spoonbills seem to be here to stay with sixteen nests, quadrupling their nest count from last year.

The endangered Wood stork slightly increased their nest count over previous years, but seem to have reached a plateau.  Proper sturdy nesting structures may be a limiting factor and discussions are underway regarding swamp expansion.

Though Crocodile Crossing intitionally was not constructed near the rookery, it did pass through the zoo and Green heron nesting habitat.  Fortunately, this did not appear to affect their desire to reproduce.  The five nests observed is well within their average yearly count.

Thank you everyone, once again, for your continued support of our zoo and the Photo Pass program.  We look forward to each nesting season just as much as you!

6 Comments

  1. Steve Reply

    Hi Gen: Thanks for the update. I’m planning on being in the area the last week of Sept.. Have I missed all the nesting birds? Worth the trip for photographs in the early am?

    • Gen Anderson Reply

      The nesting season is over for the year, but there should be a decent number of roosting wading birds for you to photograph. We open up at 9am!

  2. Judie Dziak Reply

    You all did a great job again this year, and so did all the nesting birds! Such a wonderful place to really enjoy nesting season, and such a close up view of everything. We are so lucky to have this so close to our home. Thanks for all you do to make this such a special place. Judie

  3. Lorraine Reply

    I am coming to St AUgustine from HHI, SC Oct 10-12 and plan to come by the farm. My Uncle is here from England and I wnated to make sure there would be plenty to photograph? Are we too late or is it still all good?? Thanks

    • Gen Anderson Reply

      The nesting season is over for the year, but there should be a decent number of roosting wading birds for you to photograph. We open up at 9am!

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