Everglades National Park Biologist Lori Oberhofer introduced me to the endangered Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow four years ago. We met before sunrise at the park visitor center. The skies were overcast and it began to lightly rain. We drove southwest down Main Park Road passing the imperiled pine rocklands, sawgrass prairies, hardwood hammocks, and just before the transition to coastal mangroves, we stopped. We searched with eyes and ears into the freshwater marl prairie around us. She likened the sparrow’s call to a guitar chord. This morning though, the sparrows were not playing their guitars. Instead, mosquitoes dominated the soundscape. Later that summer, I returned. I was immediately blasted by a guitar chord. There at last, the Goldilochs of the Everglades was teetering on a sawgrass blade. The only bird restricted entirely to the Everglades ecosystem of south Florida. It is a poster child for the dynamic Everglades prairies shaped by fire, water, hurricanes and people. Sure enough, a lightning ignited wildfire started nearby during my visits. This short video captures scenes from this first encounter with the Cape Sable Seaside Sparrow and the Deer Hammock Wildfire of July 2012.
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