After the game, we continued on down I-75 to Naples where we spent the night before heading into the Everglades National Park. On Monday morning we drove to Shark Valley Loop Road to take the 2 hour guided tram tour of the 15 mile loop through that part of the Everglades.
This red-shouldered hawk was atop a pole beyond the parking lot. It was an overcast day so the light was really crappy for long-distance photos.
Yesterday, we decided to do some further exploration and headed to the Ernest Coe Visitors Centre and the Anhinga Trail at the Royal Palm Visitors Centre.
When we pulled into the parking lot, we saw cars parked with blue tarps on top. This was to protect them from the black vultures that were climbing all over the cars in search of bugs. They are known to scratch the paint with their sharp beaks and talons and damage windshield wipers and the rubber strips around windows and windshields.
|Black Vultures drying their wings in the sun|
The Anhinga Trail is a 0.8 mile loop along and through waterways. There are either paved paths or boardwalks. We spent 2.5 hours on this and the adjacent trail alone.
My 'bird of the day' is the green heron.
I had never had a good look at a green heron until the day before and I sure made up for it yesterday.
I even saw a fledgling green heron but didn't get a photo.
There were lots of wood storks
There were lots of double-crested cormorants.
This anhinga had just shaken a lot of water out of his feathers. They're also called 'snake birds' because of the way they go through the water to catch fish.
It's related to the common moorhen but has bright feathers, a white forehead patch above the yellow and red beak and bright, lemon yellow legs. This was a life bird for David - very exciting!
This fairly non-descript bird was determined to be a female common yellowthroat.
I only got one good shot of a turtle.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas deemed a 'River of Grass' in 1947. When the Tamiami Trail was carved horizontally through the centre, it cut off the water flow from the northern section to the south, resulting in a lot of the southern area becoming desert-like particularly in the dry season. Also, to provide fresh water to the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas, canals were created to divert the water in a southeasterly direction from Lake Okeechobee which normally had flown in a southwesterly direction. A 40 year restoration project is underway with the hope that the Everglades will be restored to its original state. Hopefully not too many animal species will be lost in the meantime. Endangered species in the state are the Florida panther, wood stork, snail kite, American alligator and crocodile, loggerhead sea turtle, piping plover, manatee, scrub jay, Cape Sable seaside sparrow, roseate tern, bald eagle, red-cockaded woodpecker.