Dr Mark Ian Cook is smiling. And he should be. It is looking like the the birds and wildlife of the Everglades may end up having one of the best years ever! Dr Cook is the Scientific Section Lead of the Systemwide Everglades Group for the South Florida Water Management District. He received his B.S. at Bangor University; his M.S. at the University of Durham; his Ph.D at the University of Glasgow; completed Post Doc work at UC Berkley; then in 2004 was hired SFWMD Lead Scientist rising to his position today. Cook’s seventeen years of SFWMD scientific photography and publication has required him to take hundreds of helicopter flights throughout the greater Everglades-and literally hundreds of thousands of aerial photographs (data). Dr Cook has seen it all. He was there last year when the rains came early and thousands of wood storks and other wading birds watched their almost fully fledged chicks starve. But this year, this year is different! This year, more chicks may fledge than Mark has ever witnessed…
Before I wrote this post we spoke by phone. “Hello Dr Cook,” I said. “Please call me Mark,” he replied. “We just landed in Homestead to fuel up.” I could hear the helicopter blades swishing.
“How are the birds? Are they still doing well? “ I asked, speaking very loudly.
“They are phenomenal! They are in heaven!” He replied in a wonderful English accent.
“That’s great!” I said.“Tell them hello!” I heard him laughing.
Thank you to the Arts Council of Martin County for featuring Dr Cook’s 2021 Virtual Gallery, “When Flows Return to the River of Grass.” I invite you to partake in this wonderful year for our Everglades wildlife. Take a look at what happens “When Flows Return to the River of Grass.”
(Click on highlighted link above to walk through virtual galley)
*You can also learn and enjoy from Dr Cook’s work on Facebook.
2 thoughts on ““When Flows Return to the River of Grass” -Dr Mark Ian Cook”
Attended by zoom your talk at Audubon Everglades last evening. So glad to hear some positive news about bird populations in the Everglades.
Where i live in Bellaggio in west Lake Worth we have hundreds of white ibis roosting nightly in one of our cypress areas on the property.
Dear Rhea, Thank you so much for this nice email. So glad to hear about the white ibis! Such a beautiful thing to see. Sometimes, near my home, flocks fly overhead returning to Bird Island and I just stand looking in awe! I regret that I missed SFWMD Mark Cook’s Everglades bird update program for Audubon Everglades. His photographs are beyond incredible. I follow his Facebook page. I looked to see if last night’s presentation was recorded anywhere, but did not find. I too am glad to hear that the “extra” recent dry season water is helping South Florida’s bird colony success. They should have a great year every year and the more water going south the better their success will be. I will do all I can to help achieve. All the best to you and the ibis in 2022!