I visited this newly constructed wetlands area a couple of times last week and thought that it would be an excellent place to begin showing the many wonderful places to see nature in Palm Beach County.
The actual name of this facility is “The Wellington Environmental Preserve at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Everglades Habitat”, wow that is more than a mouthful so I prefer the shorter Wellington Wetlands.
This facility opened only a year ago on November 12th. It is 365 acres and has 2 1/2 miles of paved walkways and a 3 1/2 mile equestrian trail that surrounds the property. One of the coolest features of this facility is the 6 story viewing tower towards the back middle of the property. From the top of the platform you can see for many miles in all directions getting a wonderful view of a good chunk of the neighboring Station 1 wetlands.
Being only a year old the wetlands is still attracting wildlife. Numbers of species is still relatively low on any given day but in the half a dozen visits I’ve made here I have found it very reliable for Snail Kite, Belted Kingfisher, Common Ground Dove, Pied-billed Grebe, Limpkin and all the normal South Florida Herons and Egrets.
In between the two parking areas is a large expanse of non-mown field. This field is excellent for Sparrows. I also have seen Eastern Towhee, Gray Catbirds and Common Yellowthroat along with Loggerhead Shrike and other common field birds. I’m sure as time goes by we will be able to add many species to the Wetlands list.
I’ve seen Eastern Cottontail and River Otter here as well as Deer Tracks. I had a pair of Coyotes run by me this week also. A couple of Alligators have moved in and many Turtles can be seen poking their heads out of the water. I’m sure there are numerous Snake and Lizard species. It will take some time to compile a good list of all the plants and animals.
This is one of the places that it helps if you have a bicycle to get around. The county allows you to ride the entire facility and I think I’ve been able to sneak up on birds without them flushing as often as if I was on foot.
It is very exciting to watch a Wetlands area grow and I can guarantee this is going to be a must stop in a few years as it develops.