My Last Hike on The Anhinga Trail At Royal Palm Visitor Center And My First Visit To Dania Beach
It warmed up a little on my last day in South Florida. I picked a cold week to visit the Keys and Everglades this year. The morning temperatures were in the 40’s for most of my visit. The morning temperature was 56 degrees on my last full day in the Sunshine State, but much warmer than the 41 degrees two days earlier. This is still cool for southern Florida. I was up early again. I wanted to watch the sunrise on the Anhinga Trail at the Royal Palm Visitor Center in Everglades National Park one last time. It was partly cloudy when I arrived at Royal Palm.
I was the first one there. But not for long. A trio of young photographers was right behind me. . We had the Anhinga Trail all to ourselves.
It was a peaceful morning watching the sun slowly rise above the clouds on the horizon,
and over the ponds and lagoons,
as I walked the boardwalks and trail. .
There was little wildlife activity in the cool morning air. I saw this great egret and
this great blue heron but that was all as I finished my hike on the Anhinga Trail. No alligators were up this early.
As I approached the Gumbo-Limbo Trail, the sun rose through the sky and broke through the clouds. And with the sun, the birds began to awaken. I saw this red bellied woodpecker and
then this American crow cawing in a tree.
Looking up I was surprised to see a rose breasted grosbeak feeding on seeds in a tree top. These are one of my favorite migratory birds back home in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
I saw a few more birds that visit the woodlands near my home in the Spring, a black and white warbler,
I left the Anhinga Trail and walked on the Gumbo-Limbo trail. There were no birds active yet, and thankfully no mosquitoes either.
I walked through the Gumbo-Limbo Trail, and onto the trail that leads to Hidden Lake and the Old Ingraham Highway. As usual, I saw many different species of ferns along the trail. I love seeing them in the morning sunlight. I am no expert, so I relied on my PictureThis Plant Identification App.
It identified these as ostrich ferns,
these as bracken ferns. All the same but different, intricate patterns. I love ferns.
and the Old Ingraham Highway , as noted I my earlier blog, now closed to hiking because of a major waterway construction project. I was very disappointed since it is my favorite hiking trail in the Everglades.
I had to return my vehicle to the Fort Lauderdale Airport by noon so I had to, reluctantly, end my hike.
I walked back to the Anhinga trail, and on the way saw this large animal track in the mud. I am not sure but I wonder if it was a panther, or bobcat, both of which still live in the seclusion of the Everglades.
When I returned to the Royal Palm Visitor Center I decided to take one last hike on the Anhinga Trail . Here I saw some more critters, including this great blue heron.
a graceful bird, even up close,
This American purple gallinule wading across some water lilies,
this northern mockingbird, and.
this American crow and double crested cormorant hanging out on on a wooden rail along the trail.
The cormorant was drying it’s wings in the sun,
while a while another swam in the waters of the pond. I love watching wildlife on this trail. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike at Royal Palm . Florida Day Nine Everglades Anhinga Trail birds January 18 2023.
As I was leaving the trail I saw a couple of alligators crawling out of the warm waters to bask in the early morning sun. I think they came out to to say farewell to me. I will miss them, and all the critters that live here. I hope to see them again, soon. Here is a link to another gallery with some more photos from my last hike at the Royal Palm visitor center. Florida Day Nine Everglades. Anhinga hike January 18 2023.
I returned to my hotel, packed, checked out, had a quick light breakfast at the hotel, and drove through the heavy Miami traffic to the Fort Lauderdale Airport to return my vehicle. After taking a taxi to my hotel for the night, the Wyndham Garden, I was off to explore nearby Dania Beach.
I took a taxi to the beach and was going to walk the 2 1/2 miles back to the hotel.
I walked along the scenic beach. I was surprised how few people were on the beach considering it was located so close to the airport ad between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. I didn’t mind. I enjoyed looking for seashells and watching the shore birds. There were flocks of laughing gulls,
and a few royal terns who, looked, royal.
There were also groups of sanderlings scurrying along the shore. I love walking on a beach.
As I walked along the beach I saw this round jelly-like object. I was investigating it when a young girl asked me what it was. I said I don’t know but it looks like some sort of jelly-fish. I continued my walk , and on the way back the young girl stopped me told me, it wasn’t a jellyfish , it was a salp. Her parent apparently looked it up on their smart phone. I googled it. I learned it it actually more closely related to humans than it is to jellyfish. I have never heard of these creatures. Amazing how little we know, and how much we can learn by just walking. and keeping our eyes peeled.
It was late afternoon now, and was about a 2 1/2 mile hike back to my hotel so I left the beach began my walk back. I was hungry. . I walked on busy Highway A1A . There was a lot of noisy truck traffic It wasn’t a quiet nature walk, but it wasn’t too bad.
I had nice views of the intercoastal bay, as I crossed over on a drawbridge, with now much room between me and the busy ru7sh hour traffic.
The highway also bordered a mangrove nature preserve located to the south.
sea grape trees grew along the highway.
brown anole lizards along the highway near the woods.
When the nature preserve ended I was in a busy commercial area.
and some large apartment buildings.
I continued along the busy highway and returned to me hotel late in the afternoon.
After a quick shower I was off to eat at a nearby restaurant, the Fishgrill where I had a delicious last meal on this visit to Florida of a sweet potato, broccoli and blackened red snapper. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my visit to Dania Beach. Florida Day Nine Dania Beach January 18 2023.
After my dinner I walked back to my room, edited some photos, packed and retired early for the evening. I had a 6:20 a.m. flight. The airport was close and I was going to take the 5 a.m. shuttle. The woman at the desk said to be safe she would recommend the 4 a.am. shuttle. I thought this was too early but compromised and decided to take the 4:30 a.m. shuttle. Well, the woman was wrong. I arrived at the terminal, walked in and was the only one at the security gate. Not one other person. It was a first for me. I stopped and was able to chat with and joke with the security folks. I was early but it was a great way to end this adventure. I spent the time editing thee many photos I took on another great visit to Florida. I hope to return soon.
“Travel makes you realize that no matter how much you know, there’s always more to learn.”
Nyssa P. Chopra