Spring started on March 20, but few in south Florida noticed. No crocus buds popped up through snow, no cherry blossom scent filled the air. In Florida’s panhandle thousands of college students stream to the beaches, but here in Martin County, our 40-feet building height restriction means fewer large hotels, and in turn, no noticeable annual spring break madness.
But nature provides plenty of clues that it’s springtime in Florida. Last month we wrote about the annual arrival of our gentle giant, the manatee, to our rivers and inlets. They are followed by the annual shark migration, a trek considered to be the largest migration in U.S. coastal waters. The usual count is around 15,000 blacktip sharks arriving from the north, but this year numbers are down, leading scientists to worry because blacktip sharks help keep coral reefs and sea grasses healthy by “cleaning out” weak fish species.
Above the beaches, birds are flying in formation heading northward. Sea turtles are nesting along beaches. Near swamps and bogs, Florida’s male alligators are bellowing and fighting over the females. Butterflies flitting about are more plentiful and the bald cypress trees are contemplating their summer foliage.
Spring in south Florida is all around us…if we look, listen and learn. Happy spring!