By Vladimir Brezina
A few days ago, Johna and I spent a couple of hours in the “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island on the Gulf coast of Florida.
We were hoping to see alligators, but no luck. The closest we came, perhaps, was this tableau that we came across on the trail:
But the mangrove swamps on either side of the trail were teeming with life.
Mangroves send their pneumatophores up through the reddish silt
… and their prop roots down to weave elaborate root webs
Schools of fish feed voraciously, agitating the water in spreading rings
Fertile decay fluxes through the ecosystem
Mangrove seedlings set sail to new lands
Spiders lie in wait for their prey
Horseshoe crabs mate
And in the thickets around, secret birds watch
(More photos from the swamp and from the rest of our Florida trip are here.)