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Florida Everglades, 2015

I went with John / Mother Nature's Son and his regular canoeing friends to the Everglades to paddle in the 10,000 Islands for the last week of January, 2015. Unfortunately, stormy weather and high seas continued for the entire week. On the bright side, many of the group had not seen the inland parts of the Everglades. They were all strong hikers and paddlers, and with my knowledge of the park and southern Florida, every day we were able to explore some excellent inland paddling or walking spot. In addition to the park, we had a very nice visit to the Corkscrew Audubon Sanctuary.

American Alligator
Alligator mississippiensis


Alligator Mouth

Alligator Front

I've never seen an Alligator print clear enough to show either the webbing shown above nor the texture pictured below.

Alligator Foot

Alligator Scat

Alligator scat consists largely of calcium from dissolved bones, turtle shells, and etcetera.

Thursday, January 22, 2014
I flew to Tampa and met John. We hotelled in Naples.

Anhinga anhinga





Apple Snail

Friday, January 23, 2014
Winds to 30 mph and seas to 5-8' were predicted for the next few days. We biked the 15 mile loop at Shark Valley to the tower, which is similar to the one on Clingman's Dome. There were many gators and birds, a snake, and a few turtles.
Miles: 15
Camp: Collier State Park

Bones in Bird Scat

Black Vulture
Coragyps atratus

Black Vulture Face

Black Vulture Black Vulture Feet

Saturday, January 24, 2014
We walked the 2 mile boardwalk at the Audubon Corkscrew Sanctuary ($12). There were many birds, plus gators, turtles, snakes, and spiders.
Miles: 2 17
Camp: Skunk Ape Headquarters at Ochopee

Double-Crested Cormorant
Phalacrocorax auritus

Double-Crested Cormorant Face

Double-Crested Cormorant Swimming

Double-Crested Cormorant Fist Double-Crested Cormorant Perched

This Cormorant is perched on one foot while the other is neatly rolled into a fist.

Double-Crested Cormorant Feet

Double-Crested Cormorant Feathers

Double-Crested Cormorant with Fish At the Oasis Visitor Center along the Tamiami Trail / US41, this Cormorant tried repeatedly but was unable to flip this fish off its beak and swallow it. The drama ended for us when the bird flew off, the fish still impaled on its beak.


Sunday, January 25, 2014
We canoed a loop of the Turner River and Halfway Creek Canoe Trails. There were many Red Mangroves and some tight tunnels to thread through. In one large tunnel, dozen of Little Blue Herons, Great Egrets, an Owl, and several other types of birds flew in stages in front of us.
Miles: 16 33
Camp: Skunk Ape Headquarters at Ochopee

Celebrating the Huge Ascent!

Dead Flower

Dead Turtle Bottom

Dead Turtle Top

Florida White Butterfly

Monday, January 26, 2014
During some morning showers, we moved to the main road in Everglades NP. At Royal Palm there were Anhingas, Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, Black Vultures, Ibis, Turtles, and Gators.
Miles: 1 34
Camp: Long Pine Key

Head of a dead Garr

Great Blue Heron
Ardea herodius

Great Blue Heron Great Blue Heron

Great Egret

Tuesday, January 27, 2014
At first light, John, Dan, and I walked south from camp through gates 3a and 2b to Research Road, east to the Boy Scout Camp, and through gates 2a and 3 back to camp, 3½ miles. In the. Pines, we saw and heard many birds, including woodpeckers.

Great Southern White Butterfly

We all stopped at Pa-hay-okee, Mahogany Hammock, Flamingo, and other viewpoints, walking around and getting a good sample of the park sights. Then, we paddled the Nine Mile Canoe Trail, and saw an Osprey and a very large Alligator.

Green Heron

After dark, John and I joined the ranger walk at Royal Palm. I learned that most Heron and Egret species roost at night and do not hunt. But Great Blue Herons do, and a half dozen were actively hunting. Alligators, too, were out hunting in Large numbers. Alligator sometimes eat Apple Snails and fruit hanging low over the water. I'm still wondering why some Little Blue and Great Blue Herons have a white underneck with dark patches.
Miles: 12 46
Camp: Long Pine Key

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

John, Al, Dan, and Neil

John, Skunk Ape, Gator

Julia Butterfly


Little Blue Heron
Egretta coerulea

Little Blue Herons

Young Little Blue Heron are white and often hang out among Snowy Egrets.

Young Little Blue Heron


Al in the Mangroves

I had never seen the Nike Missile Site In Everglades National Park: it was quite interesting and eye opening. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, this installation was on the front lines of defense, and actions taken here could easily have begun large scale nuclear war. The missiles could detonate nuclear warheads among groups of bombers or fighters heading from Cuba to the United States.

Nike Missile

Wednesday, January 28, 2014
At first light, Dan, and I walked west through gate 4 and returned via the trail to the picnic area and the lake shore. We walked the Old Ingraham Highway, toured the Nike Missile site built after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and saw more birds at Royal Palm.
Miles: 9 55
Camp: Long Pine Key

Palm Frond


Purple Galinule

Red Bellied Woodpecker Female

Snake Skeleton

Southern Banded Water Snake


Thistle Flower

Tri Colored Heron
Louisiana Heron

Egretta tricolor

Tri Colored Heron

Tri Colored Heron

Tri Colored Heron

Tri Colored Heron





White Ibis
Eudocimus albus

White Ibis

White Ibis Foraging

White Ibis, Tri Colored Heron

White Peacock Butterfly

Wood Stork
Mycleria americana

Wood Stork

Wood Stork Flying

Wood Stork Foraging

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

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