I am fortunate enough to live on a small urban lake and springtime on this watery oasis is a celebration of life. In February female Tilapia dig out beds with their tales on either side of our pier. This prolific species of fish is native to Africa and Asia and is considered invasive to Florida. I'm not quite sure how they came to be on our little lake, but their numbers are astounding. While I wish they were largemouth bass or another Florida native, watching them spawn every year is a fascinating way to mark the beginning of the season.
Also in spring the migratory ducks head back north and wading birds sport their audacious breeding plumage and chase each other around the lake. This spring I've seen Great and Snowy Egrets, Great Blue and Black Crowned Night Herons, Ibis and Wood Storks just to name a few. Our mollusk-eating Limpkins, year-round residents, become ever more vocal, and one bird in particular has become so comfortable on our dock I have named him Larry.
Every year I'm amazed at this incredible amount of natural activity just yards from a constant stream of unaware motorists and I imagine what Florida must have been like when lakes like this were untouched by human intruders. Thanks to my little lake, I get just a little glimpse of what that must have been like.
Male Tilapia flood the shallows towards the end of the spawning season. One day I came home to find a Bald Eagle dining on one in my backyard!