Florida Day Six: Key Largo: Another Hike In A Hammock And More Florida Birds
On my recent visit to south Florida, I awoke a little too late in Key Largo on Sunday morning to catch the sunrise. After making some coffee I decided to again hike in the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park. It was about a five-mile drive from the Bar Harbor Resort and I arrived while the sun was still low in the sky.
The waning gibbous moon was still visible n the morning sky.
The early sunshine illuminated the cumulus clouds as I began my hike.
As usual, I walked along the trails in the old development hoping to see some Florida wildlife. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to see. However, with the help of my PictureThis iPhone app I tried to continue my education on Florida wild plants. I saw more of the common shoreline sea purslane spread out along the trails.
Also growing along the trail were tropical-white morning-glories,
and ocean blue morning glories.
Since the park was near the ocean I also observed the young shoots of the black mangroves. These plants can grow in the salty conditions that exist near the ocean.
Once again I had to take a detour on my hike when the I came to a section of the trail that remained flooded.
As I walked into the thicker woods away from the ocean I again encountered large swarms of mosquitoes. It did not make for a pleasant hike.
I saw a few birds in the trees along the trails, mainly catbirds, cardinals
After completing the trail loop I set out again, this time turning off on a nature trail that was created near some of the walls that were built for the proposed development.
Many native trees were identified and some facts about their life cycle and uses were shown along the trail.
After hiking about five miles I decided I had enough of the mosquitoes and ended my hike. I had wished to see some more exotic wildlife on my hike but I still enjoyed my walk and the new plants I discovered. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs of my hike. Florida Day Six: Dagny Johnson Hammock hike March 15 2020
After returning to my hotel I spent a few more hours in the sun relaxing and watching the iguanas enjoy the warm waters of the bay. This link is to a video I took of one of the iguanas taking a swim.https://youtu.be/kL7nTBFwVzE
It was now late afternoon and I decided to drive to the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary which was located about five miles south of my resort in Key Largo . I had heard of the sanctuary, but I hadn’t visited here on my last trip. I was interested to see the wild birds that were rescued and rehabilitated at the center.
The Florida sun had warmed the temperature into the upper 80’s and the birds in the cages were not very active in the afternoon heat. Some of the birds were recovering from injuries they received. They were brought to the center to be treated and released.
Others, like this one-legged owl, had permanent injuries and would be cared for at the sanctuary.
In addition to the owls and hawks, there was an enclosure with a number of species of rehabilitating shore birds.
All of the enclosures provided identification of the birds as well as a lot of information about their habitat, diets, breeding and other facts. It was not only a sanctuary for the birds but also a good place to learn about them and their environment.
Past the enclosures was a trail that led to the bay. The guide said one can see many native birds in the ponds near the bay. However because it was so hot I didn’t see any bird activity but did enjoy some nice views of the bay.
In addition to the bird recovery area there is also a bird hospital in the sanctuary. It was not open on Sunday and it was already 5 p.m. and the sanctuary was closing anyway. It was a nice place to visit and I applaud the efforts of the sanctuary to care for these endangered birds. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with some more photos from my visit to the bird sanctuary. Florida Day Six: Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary. March 2020.
I drove back to Key Largo and, after getting something to eat at Sal Ballyhoo’s, I again visited my friends at their resort and walked on the pier to watch the sunset.
Along the way I spotted a yellow-crowned night heron wading along the ocean shore near an outlet of rocks.
As I watched the heron jerked its head to the ground and I saw it had pierced a crab with it beak.
The crab did not move. It was killed instantly by the sharp beak if the heron.
I watched in amazement as the heron consumed the large crab.
I believe it is important for the heron to have killed the crab immediately since if it were alive it could have done damage to its head or eyes with its claws.
As my dad used to say , you always have to keep your eyes peeled, you never know what you will see if you do.
After watching the heron, I walked out on the pier and enjoyed another Key Largo sunset. It wouldn’t be my last. Because of the corona virus Major League Baseball cancelled Spring Training. I had planned to first visit some friends in Naples then drive to Clearwater to catch a couple of Philadelphia Phillies games. I was disappointed, but not too much, it is never a bad thing to spend time in Key Largo,especially with good friends. . Here is a link to a gallery in my website with some more photographs from my evening. Florida Day Six: Heron and sunset. March 15 20120.
“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.” – Robert Orben