The faithful reader may, perhaps, be thinking at this point "Enough with the Everglades already". Just wanted to save some of these photos online and, of course, we did promise gators and hawks. So, hang in there, this is the final Everglades post.
A beautiful sunrise is required by Florida statute.
In addition to all of the birds, the Everglades hosts numerous
butterfly species. Of course, I got the Audubon bird guide out of
van this morning (after yesterday's embarrassment), but I left the insect
guide behind. So here's a beautiful example which I cannot identify right
now. [Note: When I was showing the preview to Wendy, she said "Oh, that's
a Viceroy!". Brat! ]
The stately Great Blue Heron. In NJ, seeing one of these
is a treat. Here, they are almost as ubiquitous as sparrows.
White Pelican coming in.
This I know is a Zebra butterfly (Heliconis Charitonis) because it
was featured in the park brochure.
Spot Tippi Hendren and win a prize.
I'm calling Great Egret on this one.
Definitely a hawk, but still a bit of a head-scratcher for an ornithologist
wannabe like me. After careful perusal of the guide, I'm calling it a Broad-Winged
Hawk. I'll probably lay awake at night worrying that I got the classification wrong.
This is definitely an Anhinga. They have the most beautiful
emerald colored eyes I've ever seen.
The Astrals promised gators and the Astrals deliver.
I'm Great, I'm Blue, I'm a Heron!
The Anhinga has no oil glands in its wings, so it dries its
feather by stretching in the sun.
These HAVE to be contacts.
Smile for the camera,
I know I'll love you better.
There were so many gators on the Anhinga Trail, that I
began to suspect that the park puts them there for tourists.
This part of the park almost felt as fake as Disney World.
Here's a Great Egret.
A Purple Gallinule. These birds had an iridescent quality
that changed and shimmered in the sunlight. They appear
to also enjoy walking across lily pads.
Here's the brave Astral Wendy indicating a gator. Most of the gators
were across the water lounging in the reeds but this guy was on the path
side with only this small guardrail between him and us. I was surprised
to see families with small children posing for pictures with tasty little
kid legs dangling less than eight feet from this gator. Yikes!
Smithers, release the hounds.