Welcome to stop #9, George’s Perch!
From here you can see that not all mangroves are the same shade of green and that some are taller than others. At stop #2 you learned the up-close differences between the three species of mangroves. You can also distinguish them from far away.
Red mangroves typically grow closest to the water, right along the sloping shoreline – many times growing out into the water. Because they are on slightly lower ground and have a stunted growth, red mangroves are much shorter than the black mangroves. In fact, red mangroves only grow to about 30 feet tall.
Black mangroves grow further back from the water, on slightly elevated ground. Depending on the water level, black mangroves are sometimes standing in water and sometimes not. Black mangroves, the tallest mangroves trees, grow to about 60 feet tall – twice that of the reds.
White mangroves grow on the driest soil, sometimes in a spot that is just an inch or two higher than the surrounding area. These mangroves reach about 50 feet tall.
[As you look out from George’s Perch, the very tallest trees you see are the black mangroves. Notice how the leaves of these mangroves are a dark grayish green with a distinctively lighter underside. Slightly lower than the black mangroves are the white mangroves; their leaves are a bright yellowish-green. Finally, the red mangroves are generally the shortest, with dark, shiny green leaves].
Mangroves provide critical nesting areas for coastal water birds. An example of one of these birds is the osprey.
Use the compass mounted on the railing to get your bearings. Look to the WNW and N towards the bridge, you will see the ELC’s two osprey nesting platforms. The one to the WNW has been occupied every year since 2002. [In 2004, Hurricane Jeanne spared the platform, but destroyed the original nest. The osprey rebuilt the nest in January 2005 and have been adding to it ever since. This nest has had at least one fledgling every year since 2003].
Osprey nest from January through May. Incubation takes 32-43 days, and young can fly in 48 to 59 days.
To learn even more about the Indian River Lagoon and its wildlife, consider signing up for one of our popular pontoon excursions to Pelican Island or gentle canoe trips to Pine Island. Our Greeters in the Welcome Center can sign you and your family up today.