Florida Day Seven: Back At The Royal Palm Visitor Center And The Old Ingraham Highway. In Everglades National Park

Florida Day Seven: Back At The Royal Palm Visitor Center And The Old Ingraham Highway. In Everglades National Park

Florida Day Seven Everglades Old Inraham (49 of 49)
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It was late Tuesday afternoon on my recent visit to South Florida. I was back in Florida City  for the night and drove back to the Royal Palm Visitor Center in the Everglades National Park. It was mostly sunny and still hot under the late afternoon sun. I decided to take a quick walk along the Anhinga Trail before heading back to the Old Ingraham Highway Trail.

There was no rain in the forecast on this visit.  When I arrived at the Visitor Center the afternoon cumulus clouds made for some nice scenery over the marshes along the trail.

I hoped to see some alligators, and I did, but not as many as some years.

  I think it depends on the amount of rain in the Everglades. In dry years they gather in the ponds  along the Anhinga Trail. So I just saw this fellow and a few others. few basking in the afternoon sun.

I also saw a few of the birds after which the trail is named,

the anhinga, also known as the “snake bird” because of their  long necks.

There were a few purple gallinule birds  seemingly dancing across the lily pads with their long legs and  padded feet.

And there were a few double crested cormorants perched in the trees drying their feathers in the sun.

I usually always see these four critters on my hikes here. And a lot of other wildlife too, which varies on my visits,

this time I saw this red bellied Florida turtle swimming in the waters.

I walked quickly  hoping to see some more birds or other animals, and if I stayed longer I probably would have,  but I also wanted to get a hike in on the Old Ingraham Trail so I left Royal Palm and drove a mile to the trailhead of this trail. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my  hike on the Anhinga Trail. Florida Day Seven: Everglades Anhinga Trail March 26 2024.

There was no threat of rain this time when I began my hike on the Old Ingraham Highway trail. My last hikes earlier on the trip had me worrying about getting caught in a rainstorm. This time fair weather cumulus clouds floated over the flat grasslands

and  cattails in marshes along the trail.

Shortly after I began my hike I saw this unusual, for me, sight of a flock of black necked stilts flying over the marsh.

In the past I only saw this birds wading alone along the trail.

I also saw a flock of snowy egrets along the trail.

Again I  have never seen them in a flock before  on my travel in Florida.

There was a large flock of American coots swimming in the marsh.

And I also saw a glossy ibis in the marsh,

and a osprey fly overhead.

I was enjoying seeing so many birds on this hike since I had not seen a lot of wildlife on this trip. Some years the Everglades are just teeming with birds, alligators, snakes and turtles but so far this year it was a little quiet. I was hoping this would change on this hike.  Unfortunately, it didn’t. I continued on my hike, past an access gate about a mile out on the trail,

where the trail leaves the low marshes and passes through a hardwood hammock.

I wasn’t seeing many birds now, just a few red winged blackbirds,

and a black  vulture flying overhead.

The trail  continued through  a marsh where cypress trees grew,

but I wasn’t seeing many birds and no alligators or snakes,  as I hoped I would.

I did see a lot of dragonflies darting about in the late afternoon sun, mostly Halloween pennant dragonflies  and,

if my iPhone app is correct a jade clubtail  dragonfly.

There were a lot of wildflowers blooming along the trail, including yellow or bull thistle,

water or yellow primroses,

white colicroot flowers

and climbing hempvine flowers.

And flowers attract insects and I saw many southern carpenter bees,

eastern lubber grasshoppers ,

a few white peacock butterflies and this

gulf fritillary butterfly visiting the flowers along the trail.

I hiked out about another mile and came to a second larger hardwood hammock. I have seen many hawks in the trees here, but not on this hike, there were no birds active as I walked  through the hammock.

I did notice the  lovely spicy aroma of the many  sweetscent or camphorweed flowers growing  along the trail in the hammock.

It was now early evening  and, although I wished I could have hiked until sunset, I was tired and hungry and decided to hike back.

It was a beautiful walk under the cumulus clouds,

and I saw a few more critters on the way, dozens of brown anole lizards now scampered along the trails,

I  saw this anhinga perched in a tree,

and I watched this elegant great egret fly over,

it’s wings reflecting the rays of the sun as it neared the western horizon.

As I approached my SUV I was thinking what a wonderful hike it was,  and I thought it would be great to end seeing a bald eagle perched on the royal palm tree where I saw one on my hike on Saturday.

With this thought in my head,  a juvenile bald eagle flew overhead, and landed on the palm tree.

It was an amazing way to end another wonderful hike on the Old Ingraham Trail. I  got closer and watched the eagle for a few minutes until it decided to fly off, circling back as if to say goodnight see you next year.  Here is a link to a gallery on my website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike on the Old Ingraham highway Trail. Florida Day Seven: Everglades national Park Old Ingraham trail birds. March 26 2024.

It was getting late,  the sun was now low on the western horizon. I would have liked to stay out and watched the sunset but I had walked another five miles, over 9 miles for the day and I was tired and hungry. And I wanted to get up early for another hike ,  so I headed back to Florida City. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with some more photos from  on my hike on the Old Ingraham highway Trail. Florida Day Seven: Everglades national Park Old Ingraham trail . March 26 2024.

Of course, I stopped in the Farmers market for dinner, and of course, I had my favorite, fried catfish, mashed potatoes and fried cabbage,

and my last slice of their key lime pie until next year,

“On a hike, the days pass with the wind, the sun, the stars; movement is powered by a belly full of food and water, not a noxious tankful of fossil fuels.

On a hike, you’re less a job title and more a human being. A periodic hike not only stretches the limbs, but also reminds us: Wow, there’s a big old world out there.”– Ken Ilgunas