Everglades National Park – 2015

After the Tortugas, Sue and I spent a lovely day in the Everglades, stopping frequently along the road to the Flamingo Visitor’s Centre.  The bone dry conditions, accompanied by blistering temperatures, horse and deer flies, made getting out of the car very difficult.  Early morning and late in the day are the best times for birding this area.

The entry fee for the park  is $10 and its good for 7 days a real steal.

Near the entrance visitor’s center, I saw my first ever Soft-shelled Turtle.

SoftshellTurtle2015FB

Anhinga Trail

This short boardwalk trail never disappoints, there is always something to see and photograph, as Sue’s photo’s below show’s.

BoardwalkAnhinga2015

I had never seen the water levels so low, during my trip here in January the exposed roots, were under water.

BoardwalkAnhinga2015B

Alligators were having a field day in the low water, fish had nowhere to go and were easy pickings.  This gar was about 3 feet long and was a tasty morsel for this 12 footer.

FishAlligatorFlorida2015BFB

FishFlorida2015FB

A Purple Gallinule came in for a landing and gave me my closest photo to date of this species.  Too bad about the harsh lighting but it is what it is.

PurpleGallinule2015FB

There were Eastern Lubber Grasshoppers everywhere and this a large colorful grasshopper the individual below is about 3/4 of an inch.

EasternLubberGrasshopper2015FB

This one stretched out was about 6″ long…..

EasternLubberGrasshopper2015BFB

I have always been a bit squeamish about bugs, love seeing them but hate touching them.  This young lady, accompanied by her Mom and Dad (who said I could post this photo)  had no problem helping me.   She delicately picked it up and held it out, so I could get a better photo.

BugandChild

This hunting Green Heron almost at my feet, didn’t even take notice of me.

GreenHeron2015FB

American Coots were very common everywhere in the glades…another best photo to date.

AmericanCoot2015FB

We moved on after a walk around the boardwalk, happy to get back in our air conditioned car.

As we went through this pass, I believe the temperature cooled down by 1/1000th of a degree as we crested the hill.  😉

LowestPassEverFB

Stops along the way included Nine Mile Pond, Mrazek Pond and the Eco Pond but again not much was happening in the heat of midmorning.

Things began to pick up at the Flamingo Visitor Center, a hunting Swallow-tailed Kite gave us great views.

This bird even came in to check us out.

SwallowtailedKite2015CFB

By far one of the loveliest raptors in the ABA.

SwallowtailedKite2015DFB

SwallowtailedKite2015FB

Red-shouldered Hawks were hunting the area around the parking lot.

RedShoulderedHawk2015FB

I finally got a decent photo that showed how the Red-bellied Woodpecker got its name, over by the amphitheater area.

RedbelliedWoodpecker2015FB

A female Shiny Cowbird had been reported at the Visitor’s Center a few days before.  There was a flock of about 50-75 Brown-headed Cowbirds in the area.  Half of them were female, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t turn one into a Shiny Cowbird female.

BrownheadedCwobirdFemale2015FB

BrownheadedCowbird2015FB

There were at least a dozen Ospreys,  nesting with two young, birds migrating north, many at eye level.

Osprey2015FB

Osprey2015BFB

A few other images from our visit to Flamingo

Dragonfly2015DFB

Eastern Meadowlark

EMeadowlark2015FB

Forster’s Tern

ForstersTern2015FB

Great-crested Flycatcher

GreatCrestedFlycatcher2015FB

Turkey Vultures stopping for a drink.

TurkeyVulture2015FB

At this point we turned around an headed out of the park, back to our hotel, a good day had by all.

Ciao for now

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