Saturday, December 3, 2016

Everglades National Park, FL

In case you don't know, the Everglades is not just a place to see alligators or, hopefully, an endangered manatee!  At first glance it might be a bit disappointing, after all there no beautiful rock formations or high mountains or stunning waterfalls, etc., etc.. It is really rather unassuming....thousands (2,300 sq miles) of acres of "wet plains" dotted here and there with small hammocks of mangrove trees...and then you dive in to a world of so much wildlife it makes your head spin!  If you do not see wildlife in the Everglades, it is because your eyes are closed;) It is true most of the wildlife you see is of the 2 legged variety but there is nothing wrong with that:)!!

Here are some pics of our first couple of ventures into the park.  There are a couple of new birds for me.  So exciting! So beautiful!

Below, a red shouldered hawk has his eye on lunch....and it looks like lizard is the main course!

 Anhingas resemble cormorants from a distance but are much more colorful.  This trail in the Glades takes you right through a nesting area for these large birds.

female anhinga, these birds have webbed feet and must dive for food

nearby a gator sunning

lots of turtles in among
the lily pads
heres looking at you!  took this from a distance but still looks kinda scary;)

 We got to witness an anhinga couple doing a mating ritual.  Note the eye colors seem to deepen when they are doing their "dance"  amazing to watch!

the male is quite handsome with his black and white feathers

striped lily

this resting female anhinga shows again how the eye color is subtle when not mating 

egret lookout:)

little blue heron

just another egret;)

Lots of American kestrels

my second new bird!  this lily pad walker is a purple gallinule!  love those colors!!

if I can't see you, you can't see me!

black vulture

tri color heron

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (Swamp), Georgia

Great name and amazing place!  We visited the refuge the day before we left Georgia.  This swamp is huge!  It covers 630 miles in Georgia but also extends into Florida.  Only a few miles of trails but we also took a sunset boat tour which was awesome!

Okefenokee, the "Land of the Trembling Earth"
red shoulder hawks are common here

across a pond 11 young gators sunning

just down the road a bit, another 4 hatchlings hang out on a log....

with mom close by in the brush

part of the Chesser Island Homestead, this syrup shed is still used to demonstrate making cane syrup

We took the Chesser Island Boardwalk.....

and came across a banded water snake trying to warm up!  Right next to the board walk.

from a lookout tower

we saw several downy woodpeckers

these two guys were just coming back from spending the weekend in the swamp!
don't know what kind of snake this is yet, also next to the trail!

getting ready to head out for our sunset "cruise"
The variety and amount of wildlife was just crazy!  What a trip!!!

small blue heron


barred owl

green heron

blue heron

king fisher

last glimpse of the sun through the trees


see the young gator in the water off Mike's right elbow??

birds of all kinds flocked across the sky, it was noisy 

this was the night of the super moon,  we did not see much of it due to clouds

the next day at a nearby beach
BBQ at Southern Soul

super moon alright!