Florida: Key Largo. My Last Hikes In The Hardwood Hammock And Mangrove Forests

Florida: Key Largo. My Last Hikes In The Hardwood Hammock And Mangrove Forests

Florida Day nine Key Largo Dagney Johnson (30 of 44)
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On Friday morning  I returned to the Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park to roam the hardwood hammock and mangrove forest in search of birds, spiders, snakes or whatever other critter or wildflower I could find.  Once again I began my hike walking through the tall trees of the tropical hardwood hammock and then made my way to the mangrove forest along the Atlantic Ocean. 

On the way I saw the usual great blue herons 

and great egrets on the waters of a small canal along the trail. 

What was unusual was these birds of different feathers flocking together, a great blue heron , a great egret and some turkey vultures. 

There were also a flock of back vultures in the area. 

I am not sure what brought them here but I know that some of the turkey vultures may have been starting their long migration back to Pennsylvania. I usual have a pair nesting near my house. 

Leaving the ocean, and a view of the rising sun,

I walked through  the mangrove forest again.

And here I again saw, I think,  a tri-colored  heron in the wetlands along the trail  and

scared a a wood stork that was  nearby.. I was getting to know where and when to find the wildlife in the park. I  wasn’t looking forward to 

leaving the next day. 

After walking through the wetlands the trail led me back into the  hardwood hammock forest, and the gumbo-limbo, mahogany and poisonwood trees. These are the ones I have learned to  easily identify anyway. 

Once  again I saw some song birds including this  familiar northern cardinal,


I also saw this beautiful white-eyed vireo. I have never seen one of these birds before.

It seemed unafraid of me as it hopped from branch to branch in a tree just above my head.

There were more mosquitoes this morning as the heat and humidity had continued to increase. The  Julia butterflies continued to flutter through the warm morning air. 

And I saw this interesting spider, I think it is a golden silk  orb weaver along the trail. 

It continue to work on its intricate web as I watched. 

Hopefully it wasn’t on the menu of this bird, a great crested flycatcher.

As I finished my walk I noticed these pretty berries growing along the trail.

My iPhone  plant identification  app. identified them as American beautyberries. A very appropriate name for this pretty berries and the flowers that produce them. 

I finished up my five mile hike and drove back to my resort for some coffee and scones. It was my last full day so  I hoped to explore s little bit more of beautiful Key Largo before I left. This is a link to a gallery  with  some more photographs from my hike in the hardwood hammock forest my last  Friday in Florida. Florida Day Ten Key Largo Morning Hike February 26 2021. 

The next morning I returned to the Dagny Johnson Park. It was going to be my last hike in the hardwood hammock and mangrove forest this year. I hoped to, once again, find some more interesting birds, insects, or other critters or wildflowers on my hike. 

I arrived before sunrise since  knew I didn’t have enough time for my usual  five mile hike.  I hurried along the trail to get to the ocean as the sun rose in the east. 

Unfortunately, walking fast when trying to see wildlife usually is not a good idea and is not very productive.

This was the case  on my last hike in  this wonderful park. I saw very little wild life as I quickly walked through the hardwood hammock and  mangrove forest. 

I did see some great blue herons 

and another white-crowned pigeon perched in a tree. 

This endangered bird had become one of my favorites to find on photograph on my morning hikes in Key Largo. 

But it would be another year until I see one again. It was my last day in South Florida. I ended my hike and returned to my resort for the last time. I packed, checked out and took a nice slow drive to the airport in Fort Lauderdale where I took a late afternoon flight back to cold and snowy Northeastern Pennsylvania.

But I shall return maybe for an entire month next year, and look forward to exploring the natural beauty of the Everglades and Florida Keys. And, of course, sharing it with my friends and followers here on my blog. Remember, keep your eues peeled you never know what you may find, even on a walk in your own backyard. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my last hike in South Florida this year. Florida Day Eleven Key Largo Dagny Johnson morning hike February 27 2021

I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it. William Shakespeare

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