Florida Day One: Back In The Everglades National Park And Its Abundance Of Wildlife.

Florida Day One: Back In The Everglades National Park And Its Abundance Of Wildlife.

Fordia Day one alligators (7 of 14)
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As a result of some back and shoulder issues I decided not to  travel out of the country this Winter.  However, I needed my sunshine and so I planned a trip to south Florida and one of my favorite places to observe the beauty of nature on this planet, the Everglades National Park. 

Everglades National Park is nature preserve protecting over 1 1/2 million acres of wetlands. It is a World heritage site and home to many species of endangered animals. As many of you know from my many hikes in the PPL wetlands in my home in Northeastern Pennsylvania I love wetlands, and the wildlife that lives in them. I couldn’t wait to explore these larger, and more diverse wetlands, here in Florida. 

I arrived at my hotel in Florida City around 1 pm. and was told my room wouldn’t be available until 4 pm. No problem, I was off to the Everglades, located about 16 miles from my hotel.  As I drove I ran into a  passing thunderstorm.

No problem, I thought this would give  me  the opportunity to again tour the wonderful Visitors Center. It is filled with informative exhibits about the history, environment, geology and flora and fauna of this vast slowing moving river of grass. 

The rain soon stopped and I drove to the Royal Palm visitor center and was soon hiking on the  Anhinga trail.  Royal Palm visitor center is situated on a hammock, a sort of island in the river  of grass that is the Everglades.  From the trail one observes the vast saw grass marsh prairie that surrounds the hammock.  

The trail follows some deeper waters and consists of a series of board walks allowing visitors to view the wildlife that lives here. 

And there is always plenty of wildlife. On this visit I found a pair of cormorants sitting on a rail near the start of the trail

. The were unafraid of the many passing visitors and seemed to enjoy the attention they were getting. 

They allowed me to take  some beautiful close-ups photographs. Their eyes sparkled like gem stones. Here is a link to a gallery in my blog with more photographs of these beautiful birds. Florida Day One Royal Palm Cormorants.  March 10 2020.

It didn’t take long to find  an alligator along the trail. In fact these two were sleeping on the trail. Some folks were getting way to close. I saw an alligator move very quickly and unexpectedly.

Alligators can be  swimming  just about anywhere there is open water along the trail. 

However they like to hang out in this  area. Some years I’ve seen two dozen crowded in the pond where I saw this fellow with the nice smile. Here is a link to some more photographs of the alligators I saw along the trail. Florida Day One Everglades Royal Palm Alligators March 10 2020.

There is so much life here in the Everglades  National Park . It is everywhere. I love to walks the trail, which include board walks that allow you to look into the waters that teem with life, including fish such as the ancient Florida gar and 

this red-bellied turtle. 

Hopping on the water-lily pads in search of a meal were these beautiful birds, the purple gallinule. 

These fellow hopped about showing his big wide feet which give him the ability to scamper so gracefully on  the lily pads.

I watched as this one  harvested some sort of water plant and enjoyed having it for breakfast. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs of this beautiful bird. Florida Day One Everglades Royal Palm purple gallinule. March 10 2020.

I must had done three laps on the trail. looking searching for the many critters that call this area home. I soon found this egret searching for food in one of the waterways. 

The neck on this graceful creatures is amazing. 

There were also green herons, and a number of great blue herons wading in the waterways. 

Birds that I am familiar with from up north catbirds and red-winged blackbirds were also found along the trail. 

And, of course, the bird the trail was named for the anhinga could be seen throughout the wetlands surrounding the trails. The birds are also known as the snakebird because of their long snake-like necks. 

It has been two years since I visited the Everglades National Park . Much too long. If I do become a snow bird and spend portions of my Winters here in the Sunshine State I know it will be near the Everglades. They are so unique  and a place where a nature lover like me will never get bored. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike on the Anhinga Trail Florida Day One Everglades Royal Palm Anhinga trail March 10 2020. 

 

“The miracle of the light pours over the green and brown expanse of saw grass and of water, shining and slow-moving below, the grass and water that is the meaning and the central fact of the Everglades of Florida. It is a river of grass.”
― Marjorie Stoneman Dougla

 

 

 

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