LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Letter writer asks for a bite of bittern pie

April 8, 2022
By Boca Beacon Reader

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To the Editor:

Lemon Creek revisited. The Beacon published a letter of mine in the March 25 edition that I have since come to realize requires some correction and a slice of humble pie or crow eating (perhaps least bittern?)

On Friday, April 1, I walked out to a bird-viewing dock in the Amberjack Preserve and was privileged to observe waterfowl in numbers that were astounding: dozens of black-necked stilts, troves of blue-winged teal, hordes of herons and scores of white pelicans, gorging themselves, cruising the waters at five knots, preparing for their Montana migrations. The magnificent pelicans took wing in groups of two dozen or more, wingspreads of nine feet … amazing!

At 3 p.m., I met up with Dr. Bill Dunson at the Fiddler’s Green bridge over the remnant of Lemon Creek. Professor Dunson is retired from Penn State, and is well known locally for his involvement in the restoration of the Lemon Bay Conservancy’s LBCWP golf course project. Strong south winds had blown a surge of dirty tidal salt water up under the bridge up against an impenetrable tall stand of mangroves. Dr. Dunson took a salinity reading with a scientific instrument, I took a sip from my jelly jar; as saline as Lemon Bay, certainly disproving my contention that the tidal exchange “has been entirely blocked and cut off by the construction of Fiddler’s Green.”

Some of the physics of hydrology and water levels of rising seas remain a mystery. How can a tidal estuary go entirely dry for months on end? The fishermen who poled their skiffs under the Conway bridge up into the headwaters of Lemon Creek have all departed this life, alas, their reports no longer available.

James M.S. Johnson

Englewood