Lemon Lake Did Not Disappoint

January 26, 2014

Nature Notes by Bill Dunson

Whenever I am in the vicinity I always stop by Amberjack Preserve (Charlotte County, FL) to see what birds are on Lemon Lake. There can be large numbers or not, depending mostly on the depth of the lake which varies depending on rainfall, tides and evaporation. Most birds prefer a declining lake level which allows them to feed on concentrated prey (small fish and invertebrates for the predators) or bottom vegetation for the herbivorous ducks. Spoonbills are the hallmark species that everyone wants to see because of their amazing colors, which are dependent on pigments derived from their invertebrate prey. This spoonbill displays its trademark and bizarre bill which is an efficient means of trapping small animals when water levels drop and concentrate the prey.

Bill Dunson

About Bill Dunson

Bill Dunson, born in rural Georgia, skipped 12th grade and went directly to Yale. Bill subsequent-ly received a PhD in Zoology from the University of Michigan, studying softshell turtles. Bill is Professor Emeritus of Pennsylvania State University thanks to a career spent entirely at that institution, teaching and doing research on the physio-logical ecology and ecotoxiciology of reptiles, amphibians and fish. Always curious about nature, Bill has dedicated his life to learning and sharing his knowledge with others. He has served on many advisory boards here in Southwest Florida to preserve the water that gives life to our region.

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