Florida Day Three: Mosquitoes, Birds, Manatees And A Crocodile At Flamingo

Florida Day Three: Mosquitoes, Birds, Manatees And A Crocodile At Flamingo

Flamingo hikes (34 of 45)
Previous Post
Next Post

On Thursday morning,  my third day back in South Florida, I decided to drive to Flamingo,  the southernmost point in Everglades National Park. Again I hoped to find the migrating song birds  and look for crocodiles and manatees.  Once again there was  fog as I   began  of my drive. 

It is about an hour drive, and as usual I leave a half hour  before sunrise.

I leave early to   watch the rising sun on the way. I usually stop  near the Pa-Hay -Okee trail   and watch it rise from  along the road. This time I drove  the  road up to the overlook.  The overlook provides a view of the “sea of the sawgrass” and many cypress below. On my drive up to to the overlook I saw a pair of white ibises perched atop a cypress tree.

And I saw dozens more flying overhead, and also a few wood storks, as I neared a wetland close to the overlook.

There was a large flock of great egrets in the thick growth of trees in the wetlands, as well as a few wood storks.   A few of the great egrets were flying  overhead as the sun began to rise. 

The fog had lifted and it was a peaceful and beautiful  place to be to watch  the sunrise.

I heard the songs of birds and the croaking of frogs as the sun slowly rose above the horizon. It was another magnificent Florida sunrise. 

After enjoying the sunrise I continued my drove to Flamingo. I encountered some more patches of fog but by the time I got to Mrazek Pond 
  it was sunny. I love this little pond  located along the highway a few miles from Flamingo.  I have seen many water birds here over the years, including wood storks and roseate spoonbills. There wasn’t much to be seen this day, just a couple green herons near the pond  and

this American crow cawing atop a nearby tree. 

My next stop was Eco Pond  near the Flamingo Campground.

This small pond  has also been a good spot to see bird activity in the past and it didn’t disappoint on Thursday. As soon as walked to the pond  I saw a pair of roseate spoonbills across the lake. 

I love seeing these beautiful pink birds. 

Perched near them were two osprey one near he ground,

and another high in a tree top. 

A pair of white pelicans,

and tri-colored herons swam in the pond. I enjoy watching these beautiful critters in their natural surroundings. And it was even more peasant this morning because there weren’t many mosquitoes. Some year there are swarms of them. 11

I walked around the small pond and was pleased to see and  here a few song  birds, a prairie warbler, 

a white eyed vireo  and 

this beautiful northern mocking bird in the trees along the trail.

I also saw some common ground doves , my first sighting of these birds.

After visiting Eco Pond I drove though the campground and then an abandoned campground and to the trailhead of the Coastal Prairie Trail.  

This one of my favorite trails in the Everglades. I enjoy the old live oak trees draped in Spanish moss at the start of the trail. 

After about a half mile I left the hardwood woodlands on Coastal Prairie Trail and followed the Bayshore Loop through the bright green saltwort plants to the waters of the Florida Bay

Here, under the tangled roots of  the red mangroves

I usually see a lot of wading birds including white ibises , wood storks, herons and egrets. There was little bird activity this morning. I only saw this little blue heron wading in the waters of the bay. 

The trail followed the shore line over the tangled roots of the mangroves. Small crabs scurried across the trail. Occasionally there were views of the bay, 

and on this hike I also discovered these old ruins of an abandoned building. I wondered what they were for out here in this remote area 

The trail looped back to the Coastal Prairie Trail. I usually hike out another mile but the trail was muddy and slippery from the recent rain storms. I fell a few times on the slick mud  and decided  to hike back. 

I usually see a lot of song birds on the trail. Again, it was quiet this morning and I only saw this black and white warbler. 

An osprey also flew overhead. It was a very uneventful hike as far as seeing wildlife but I still enjoyed the scenic and peaceful hike. 

When I got back to the trailhead I roamed around  the grounds of the old campground.  Large live oaks now grow here and I usually see some birds here, Again none one this day, 

but I did find a  lot of knicker nuts. I love finding this round marble like nuts on my hikes in Florida,

I left the trail and drove over to he Flamingo marina. They are just finishing a new Visitor Center and lodging which will be available  in the Fall. 

Here I saw some folks standing at the edge of the water. I knew they had to be watching something of interest. and they were. There were about a dozen of manatees swimming and snorting in the warm waters of the  cove.

I spent about an hour watching these large clumsy animals. hoping to get a good photo. They were elusive and I got a lot of photos of backs, tails and fins. This was the best I could do.  However I really enjoyed watching the manatees even at a distance. 

Across the cove was another crowd of folks. I walked over and saw this crocodile sitting at the edge of the pier. A park ranger was there providing information about the crocodiles in the park. 

Crocodiles can tolerate salt water unlike their cousins the alligators who only live in fresh water. 

I had one more treat on my visit to the marina, the pair of ospreys who nest here.

Both birds were in the nest and I was able to get some photos of this magnificent creatures.

Since I cut short my hike on the Coastal Prairie Trail I decided to hike a few miles on the Snake Bight trail . It is located a few miles from Flamingo as you head back to Homestead.

.The park ranger warned me about the mosquitoes but so far they hadn’t bothered me on my hikes. They were on this hike. I braved the mosquitoes for about a 1/2 mike. The trail was nice. an old hardwood forest.

It was late  morning and getting hot but I saw a few birds on my short hike including this great crested flycatcher,

and  beautiful brown thrasher. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the birds I saw at Flamingo Florida Day Three Everglades Flamingo birds March 30 2023 

I also saw this beautiful  blue garter snake on the trail, unfortunately when It did not move for a while I realized it was  dead. I am not sure why it died  but it was sad since it was such a beautiful creature. The mosquitoes had me  cut my hike short and I headed back to my SUV. I drove back to my room, stopping  for a quick snack at a roadside food truck .  Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike at Flamingo. Florida Day Three. Everglades Flamingo hike March 3o 2023. 

I  again spent the afternoon making calls for my office, editing photos and working on my blog. In late afternoon I decided to return to Lucky Hammock to look for migrating birds.

Once again threatening clouds moved in when I arrived at the trail parking lot. 

I was able to hike to the hammock before the rains came

 but once again I saw no bird, not a one. They only living creature I saw was this dragonfly

. I returned to my SUV and made it before the rains started again

. I was starving and drove to my favorite, the Farmers Market where I had a great dinner of a salad, fried cabbage and seafood pasta I love this place. I did some photo editing and  retired early, hoping to see some of the migrating birds on my last hike in the Everglades.  

“The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s nature.” – Shikoba