“Captain Brian Holaway is well versed in the intricacies of our unmatched locale. He can guide to and through a multitude of out-of-the way tidal creeks, bayous, keys and islands. More important is his passionate interest and respect for the region. With unique insights from his many explorations and his studies, not only does he identify the birds and wildlife that inhabit our semi-tropical watery land, but he explains their interconnectedness to their environment and each other. In addition, he shares the fascinating history of rugged people who came long before us: Florida Native Indians, the Calusa, the Spanish, the Cubans, early homesteaders, and the wisdom evident in the growth of their culture.

You will come away with great enjoyment and a new understanding of this beautiful place and its history.”

Historian, Betty Anholt
Author of Sanibel’s Story

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Great Egret

The Great Egret has a fascinating history. I was lucky to get a good picture of this bird with its breeding plumage. The green around its eye is only present for a week. The Great Egret was almost hunted to extinction in the early 1900's. The plume feathers of this bird were worth more than the price of gold and were often used in ladies' hats. The Audubon Society helped put a stop to plume hunting in Florida. Plume hunters would go into rookeries and shoot the birds just for their feathers. Laws were enacted in the 1900's to protect this bird. The Ten Thousand Islands of Southwest Florida were a haven for such hunters. After the law was passed, a lot of the hunters went to Honduras to continue their hunting. In 1902, Guy Bradley was one of the first Wardens in the Everglades hired to protect these wading birds. In 1905, Bradley was shot dead on a hot July day around Cape Sable. He was found in his boat a day later. Bradley's boat had drifted south of Cape Sable into Florida Bay near a small mangrove island. Today you can see the same mangrove island in Florida Bay. The island is now named Bradley Key, after Guy Bradley, the protector of Egret plumes and wildlife in the great Florida Everglades. Each time I see the Great Egret, I can't help but think of Guy Bradley and that small mangrove island that bears his name. Bradely Key./div>