Florida Day Five: Florida City : Morning Hikes On the Southern Glades Trail , By Mistake, And Aerojet Road Trail

Florida Day Five: Florida City : Morning Hikes On the Southern Glades Trail , By Mistake, And Aerojet Road Trail

Florida Day 5 Aerojet hike (24 of 46)
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The skies were clear when I awoke in Florida City Sunday morning,  The unexpected rain storm, that dropped records rains on South Florida ended. It was a cool 61 degrees when I left my hotel and drove to the Southern Glades Trail located  on the outskirts of Florida City about five miles from the Everglades National Park.

I arrived at the trailhead just as the sun was rising in the east. I was the only vehicle  at the trailhead which is always a good thing if you are looking for wildlife.

The trail follows C-111, one of the many water conservation canals in South Florida and runs through a state owned wildlife area until it reaches  Manatee Bay in 13 miles. I have hiked the beginning and end of the trail. 

Beautiful  blue dawn,

and moonflower morning glories were blooming along the trail.

 As I continued on the trail I saw many species of ferns including sword ferns and,

braken ferns, if my iPhone app is correct.

The first critters  I saw was a snowy egret wading in the canal ,

and an American white ibis perched in a tree.

I continued on my hike looking for the Lucky Hammock, a hardwood hammock know to attract many species of native and migratory birds. The sun rose higher  in the east illuminating the canal making for better photography conditions.

However there was not much to photograph, the usual gray catbirds,

and northern cardinals. birds I am very familiar with from my hikes back home in Pennsylvania.

And some noisy boat-tailed grackles birds native to Florida. 

A few spider webs were visible covered in the early morning dew.

After about 3/4 of a mile I realize I was on the wrong trail.  I checked my iPhone map and  realized the Lucky Hammock was located on the Aerojet Trail a few miles west.  I wanted to see  Lucky Hammock so I walked back to my SUV and drove to the Aerojet Trailhead.  Unfortunately I wasn’t the first one there this time,

I started my walk on the trail which is the remains of the  road to the large Aerojet Rocket facility constructed in the 1960’s to build solid fuel rocket engines for NASA, The company was never awarded the contract and the large facility was abandoned. It is about a  5 mile hike to the abandoned buildings. I have hiked there before.  You can find my previous blogs, which contain more information about the facility using the search tool for my blog.  The area was acquired by the State of Florida and is now a wildlife management area. 

And it is on this trail, after about a quarter mile, that one will find Lucky Hammock.  The electric lines to the  facility remain and are used by the many species of birds and perches, as I soon found out as I neared the Lucky Hammock,

I   saw this eastern phoebe

and a few western kingbirds perched on the wires overhead.

A young couple  I met told me there were painted buntings near the hammock. I saw them, briefly, but couldn’t get a photos.   After about a mile the trail came to the Aerojet Canal. created to float the large rockets down to the Atlantic Ocean and up to Cape Canaveral. I was now a beautiful natural area that provides habitat for many species of wildlife.

On Sunday morning the most common were dragonflies. There were hundreds of Halloween pennants along the trail, and,

near the canal I found a few  eastern pond hawks,

and Needham’s  skimmer dragonflies.

 I walked along the canal, which was hidden from view from the trail by many trees,

including cabbage palm trees, and

many cocoplums.

I saw an osprey ,

and some American crows fly overhead.

The trail  entered a marsh where many cypress trees were growing . They are  one of my favorite  Florida trees.  I usually see them in the Winter months when they are without leaves. They were now covered in new light green leaves. I usually see wood storks, herons and hawks perched in the trees. However, there were a few hikers ahead of me and may have  frightened the birds.

I had walked out about two miles and would have continued.  However,  I had to check out of my hotel. So I began my hike back. The strong Florida sun warmed up the cool morning air. I believe this brings out more insect activity.

And if there are insects active there are flycatchers and I saw a few  great crested flycatchers on my walk back,

some were perched on the wires but others were singing in the cypress trees. They are beautiful birds. 

I also saw this red shouldered hawk perched on a wire peering out over the trail ,

but flying off as I approached. 

When I returned to  the beginning of the canal I walked over to a nearby second canal. I often see alligators here and sure enough this fellow was basking in the warm morning sun.

I also saw these cattle egrets near the canal,

and some blue winged teal swimming in the water. 

As I was finishing my hike I saw this  a flock of great egrets fly  onto the trees in Lucky Hammock,

and a American kestrel,

and an American white ibis perched on a wire. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Florida Day Five: Florida City Aerojet hike birds March 24 2024.

I had hoped to see more birds and other wildlife on my morning hikes, I always do, but I saw some more of Florida’s natural beauty and I enjoy sharing it here on my blog. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from on my hike. Florida Day Five: Florida City Aerojet hike  March 24 2024. I returned to my hotel, packed and was soon on the road to Key Largo for a couple of days. However, I first had to stop  one last time at the Farmers Market. where I had another delicious and wholesome vegetable omelet with home fries and toast.

It was a beautiful drive to Key Largo. I always take  the back road along Card Sound. It ‘s a scenic and less traveled road.  I arrived at my hotel the Courtyard, by Marriot,  around 1:30 p.m. and was surprised and happy to have a room available. However, I didn’t stay in my room very long. 

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