Anne Kolb Nature Center at West Lake Park

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.

Watchable Wildlife:
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.

(954) 926-2410

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.

Related Sites:
Other South East Florida Wildlife Sites
Florida State Parks

FWC Facts:
When the weather is very cold, a group of bluebirds, and several other bird species, will occasionally roost together in a nest cavity for warmth.

Learn More at AskFWC