Mangrove Tunnels, Lido Key, FL

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The mangrove tunnels in Sarasota are always a great place to visit, teeming with life that you are more likely to see if you go it alone.  There are also noisy guided trips, and they are often led by naturalists that focus on dolphins & manatees — the crowd pleasers.  If getting on a guided trip is the only way you’ll do it, sign up!  You won’t hurt my feelings.  But I’ll probably stay away from your group… sorry!

This trip was filled with herons, and kingfishers made a few appearances….one day I’ll get a photo.  There is one spot among the mangroves that is the most reliable place for kingfishers I have ever seen, and fortunately, it is not on the guided tour track.

The coolest thing I saw this time around were a variety of birds (heron, egret, ibis)  fishing among the roots.  This is clearly valuable habitat.

More on Mangroves from Wikipedia:

Mangroves are various types of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics – mainly between latitudes 25° N and 25° S. The remaining mangrove forest areas of the world in 2000 was 53,190 square miles (137,760 km²) spanning 118 countries and territories.

The word is used in at least three senses:  most broadly to refer to the habitat and entire plant assemblage or mangal,for which the terms mangrove forest biome, mangrove swamp and mangrove forest are also used, to refer to all trees and large shrubs in the mangrove swamp, and narrowly to refer to the mangrove family of plants, the Rhizophoraceae, or even more specifically just to mangrove trees of the genus Rhizophora.

The term “mangrove” comes to English from Spanish (perhaps by way of Portuguese), and is of Caribbean origin, likely Taíno. It was earlier “mangrow” (from Portuguese mangue or Spanish mangle), but this was corrupted via folk etymology influence of “grove”.