When people talk about the beach being “95% built out”, they don’t include the marsh. Why? Because you can’t build on it unless you fill it, and it’s a wetland, so you can’t fill it. At least not easily. And I’m reasonably certain that Mayor Richard Brown and the other council members in Neptune Beach wouldn’t begin to allow that to happen.
So we have urban marsh. This was taken just about a third of a mile from my house. The creek is tidal, and there are homes build on either side of it.
Here’s a map of the marsh. It run from the Intercoastal waterway east and then turns north and south. The northern branch is the one near my house. All that wetland, and you can see, a lot of drainage area. A perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes and, even worse, the no-see-ums. Tiny little gnats that can just chew the life out of you 8 months out of the year. Even now, in what passes for the dead of winter in Northeast Florida, the no-see-ums can be just vicious. I think we have our Mosquito Deleato far more for the gnats than the actual mosquitoes, but I digress.
I love that the marsh is there, and the wildlife that it attracts to the neighborhood. Directly behind our house is a drainage ditch that we lovingly refer to as “The Moat”. There is regularly a white or blue heron stalking the frogs that inhabit The Moat, and I’m sure at least some of them live in the marsh.
If you look very, very closely in this picture, you can see the head of one of the snowy egrets that inhabit the marsh. He was working slowly slowly through the tall grass looking for what ever tasty morsel that might catch his eye. The head is the tiny white smudge at the center of the picture. I kept hoping he’d poke his head up a little higher, but no such luck. You can see him a little better on the full-size picture on Flickr.
Later in the day, with the tide running out and the sun setting, the marsh provides those who are fortunate enough to live on it’s edges a sense of serenity. And this time of year, they don’t even have to swat too many mosquitoes.