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Walking Flamingo

Letting the car get cold


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2005 Migrating by Mercedes & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Tuesday, January 25th.

Bob tells me that he doesn't want to drive the car today so that he can change the last piece of hose which the guy who did the work in Miami didn't replace. He wants the car to get really cold so it will be easier to work on. So we went out to the car and got juice and bagels, and had breakfast. After I tried to log on to get my email (which I found extremely frustrating and slow, and I eventually just deleted the suspect spam without ever looking at it), we walked from the Flamingo Lodge
Former location of the pool

Former location of the pool


The Lodge for whatever reason has filled in their pool. (When I made the reservation, I could still see pictures of it on their website) This means that in spite of the fact that it is surrounded by water, there is no place in Flamingo to swim.
Looking back at the Flamingo Lodge

Looking back at the Flamingo Lodge

Beach in front of the Flamingo Lodge at low tide

Beach in front of the Flamingo Lodge at low tide


Sign about Warden Guy Bradley and Cape Sable Beach

Sign about Warden Guy Bradley and Cape Sable Beach


Closeup of the Guy M. Bradley memorial plaque

Closeup of the Guy M. Bradley memorial plaque


over to the visitor's center. I talked to the guy at the visitor's center (and got a stamp for my passport) about various options for tours. I do not think I want to do a 4.5 hour canoe trip. He suggested we rent a canoe at 9 Mile Pond, and see whether we like it or not, and then take the ranger guided trip if all goes well with an hour rental. They keep canoes both at the marina and at 9 Mile Pond - otherwise if we want to rent canoes to do some other trip, they charge us $20 to take them there in a truck.

The Flamingo Visitor's center has the canoe and hiking paths, but does not keep track or post about the ranger programs from the eastern end
of the park (Royal Palm and Long Key). There is a ranger talk at 3:30 at the Flamingo Visitor's Center and I'd like to attend that.

I also do not have appropriate shoes (even if I had the stamina) for a four hour swamp trip. Or rather I have the shoes, but I don't want to sacrifice them to the swamp. I thought I might be able to do the early morning bird walk tomorrow at Eco-Pond (which is the catchment for the sewage treatment plant), but it turns out they don't do that on Wednesday.

We went to the marina. Bob thought he might be able to get a loaf of bread for sandwiches at the marina store, but all they had was hamburger rolls. So we got sandwiches already made, and something to drink ($11.95).
Sailboat Windfall at the dock

Sailboat Windfall at the dock

Bird sightings

Bird sightings

Warning sign

Warning sign

Pump out location for marine toilets in boats

Pump out location for marine toilets in boats

Slip assignment sign in the marina

Slip assignment sign in the marina

Houseboats in the marina

Houseboats in the marina


I'd love to do a houseboat rental sometime, but for now it is too expensive. Normal rate is $350.00/night (2 night minimum) for a 42 ft Houseboat with two staterooms- one with a queen size bed and one with a full size bed plus a futon in the living room (for up to two children), one full bathroom (shower), galley with cooking & dining supplies and air conditioning (while at dock). No smoking

A valid boater’s safety card or certificate is required for renters born on or after January 1, 1988.
Minimum age to rent: 25
Travel is restricted to the boundaries of White Water Bay
Bed and bath linens are supplied
Maximum occupancy: 4 adults & 2 children
One 20lb and one 1lb propane tank are provided for $25.00 plus tax which will operate the fridge, range and hot water while under way
Fuel will be charged upon return of the rental
Dogs are permitted. Extra fees will apply.
Maximum number of adults is 4. Minimum age requirements: Minimum age to rent is 25
Boats in the marina

Boats in the marina

Marina gas station (Please pay first)

Marina gas station (Please pay first)

Boat getting fuel

Boat getting fuel


There is a dam in the marina to keep salt water intrusion out of the fresh water canals. They lift small boats over the dam in a small
travel-lift. On the top of the travel-lift is an osprey nest with little ones in it. We watched them lift a boat across the dam. The ospreys didn't seem to mind.
Boat in the lift

Boat in the lift


Boat lift

Boat lift

Boat lift

Boat lift


Boat lift

Boat lift

large_100_6022.JPGOsprey nest on the boat lift

Osprey nest on the boat lift

Osprey nest

Osprey nest

Osprey on a pole

Osprey on a pole


There are also two boat trips, which I think I remember from before. I am sure we did the back-country trip which goes into the canal and to the interior lakes, and I think we saw a bald eagle on that trip. The other trip is on a boat called the Bald Eagle which goes out into Florida Bay. They no longer have the tram trip from Flamingo - that is only at the Shark Valley location which is not accessible from Flamingo without going out and back to Miami and across Alligator Alley.

The back country trip takes 2 hours, and will not quite get back in time for the ranger talk at 3:30, so we take the Florida Bay trip ($12 each) which I don't think is as good. They are changing the oil in the engine, plus they have to wait for the tide to come up so they can get out of the channel - we leave a bit after 12:30.
The Bald Eagle tour boat

The Bald Eagle tour boat


Visitor's center from the water

Visitor's center from the water

Egret?

Egret?

Osprey nest

Osprey nest

Bob on the Bald Eagle

Bob on the Bald Eagle


We see large flocks of white and brown pelicans, skimmers, laughing gulls, terns and even a couple of dolphins.
Flamingo shoreline from Florida Bay

Flamingo shoreline from Florida Bay


I took this picture of the campground shore from a tour boat because of the flock of white birds along the shore. But it also shows a cell tower. Even though this tower should have been close enough for service, I had only one or at the most two bars on my cell phone - I had to shout for people to hear me. There are NO local internet numbers in the park. Even 800 numbers are 50 cents a call, and the connection is not very good. I tried to get email, and three or four times the call was dropped. Later in 2005, phone service was disrupted by Katrina, and was totally destroyed by Wilma , but has been restored.

Flamingo is 38 miles from the entrance on the east at Florida City, and a seven day canoe trip to the west entrance in Everglades City. All calls to off the park property are long distance. All calls from the Flamingo Lodge to outside the park using land lines are charged an extra percentage unless they are to 800 numbers.
Birds on a sandbar

Birds on a sandbar


Lodge units from a boat

Lodge units from a boat

Tern on Green 13

Tern on Green 13


Birds on a sandbar

Birds on a sandbar

Flocks of birds flying from sandbars

Flocks of birds flying from sandbars

Canoeing around Flamingo in Florida Bay

Canoeing around Flamingo in Florida Bay

TIny mangrove island

TIny mangrove island


Canoeing around Flamingo

Canoeing around Flamingo


Heron fishing

Heron fishing

Brown pelican

Brown pelican


After we got back, I walked across the dam and took a picture of the crocodilian that was there under the no trespassing sign with his mouth open.
Crocodile guarding a "No Trespassing" sign

Crocodile guarding a "No Trespassing" sign


I was told it was a crocodile, but I don't know for sure - I can't really tell if the mouth isn't shut. I walked across the dam because the bottom of this sign was faded out and I wanted to see what it said. It actually says "U.S. Property No Trespassing". The 'trespassing' part was faded out. This road goes to the employee housing section. In one of the ranger talks we learned that alligators can run 30 mph for short distances and presume crocodiles can also.
What big TEETH you have

What big TEETH you have


Also took photos of some of the ospreys and some herons around the marina. The marina is 50 cents a foot without electricity and 75 cents with. The entrance channel from Cape Sable is only about 4 feet.
Little blue heron with a 'chestnut' head

Little blue heron with a 'chestnut' head

Reflections

Reflections

Birds overhead

Birds overhead

Canoes

Canoes

Canal

Canal

Gull

Gull

marina

marina

Clean Marina - instruction sign

Clean Marina - instruction sign

There is a canoe trail which will take you across from Flamingo to the western end of the Everglades. It takes 7 days to do this trip in a canoe. Permits are reqired to camp in the back country

There is a canoe trail which will take you across from Flamingo to the western end of the Everglades. It takes 7 days to do this trip in a canoe. Permits are reqired to camp in the back country

Float plan - the boat equivalent of a Flight Plan

Float plan - the boat equivalent of a Flight Plan

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Gulls on the dock

Gulls on the dock

Great Blue Heron stretching

Great Blue Heron stretching

Nest on antennas

Nest on antennas


The ranger talk was on tides, and he basically said Florida Bay doesn't have any moon tides because by the time the tide comes all the way in, it is going out again. Afterwards Bob changed the hose in the car to stop the last bit of leaking.
Pod

Pod

Sign at the visitor's center

Sign at the visitor's center


White crowned pigeon

White crowned pigeon


The White-crowned Pigeon is a locally abundant resident of the Florida Keys and the southern mainland tip from April to September. So this is one bird which you may see more during the summer than the winter when populations decrease to only a fraction of summer numbers because they migrate to the Caribbean. Darker than Rock Dove and has white crown. This pigeon is most often seen in flight or perched in trees. It rarely visits the ground. Look for it around Eco Pond, the Bear Lake Road, Snake Bight Trailhead, and Nine-Mile Pond, especially in early morning hours. Be careful not to be lured into a poisonwood thicket to see it. The species is threatened in Florida as well as throughout much of its Caribbean distribution. Over hunting has reduced its numbers in the Caribbean. In Florida, its decline is due to habitat destruction; and it is listed as a threatened species by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission.

White-crowned Pigeons feed almost exclusively on the fruit of tropical hardwood trees. Poisonwood, blolly, short-leaf fig, and strangler fig are extremely important, especially during the breeding season. After the breeding season, fruiting trees such as strongbark, snowberry, mastic, pigeon plum, and sea grape are also important. So protection of these hardwoods is necessary if the species is to continue.
Bob at dinner

Bob at dinner


We had dinner in the restaurant again, and this time we were going to try Max and Lucette's trick. I had a half roasted chicken dinner, and Bob had the coconut shrimp appetizer. He gave me two of the 6 shrimp, and I gave him the split pea soup-of-the-day (which I don't like but he loves), and half the chicken and half of the huge baked potato, and half of the asparagus with hollandaise (which is the vegetable of the day),
Half chicken dinner with baked potato and asparagus

Half chicken dinner with baked potato and asparagus


and then we shared a piece of carrot cake. This came to $34.36 including tip.
Mangrove island

Mangrove island

Sailboat Windfall from the restaurant

Sailboat Windfall from the restaurant

Windfall returning at sunset

Windfall returning at sunset

Bald Eagle tour boat returning at sunset

Bald Eagle tour boat returning at sunset


We saw a couple of trawlers come into the marina from the restaurant window, and also the Bald Eagle and the big schooner coming back from
the sunset cruise.

Bob has walked over 5,000 steps today which is less than his target of 10,000, but still a substantial amount.
Sunset in Flamingo

Sunset in Flamingo

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:57 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Exploring Grasslands on Foot and by Canoe

Eco Pond, Mahogany Hammock and the Buttonwood Canal


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2005 Migrating by Mercedes & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Flamingo has certainly changed over the years. At the turn of the century when plume hunting was a major source of cash income, Flamingo was a barely accessible, isolated town of 38 shacks resting on stilts; it showed little sign of growth or even survival. In 1893, Leverett White Brownell, a visiting naturalist, wrote one of the few accounts of early Flamingo. He reported that the tiny town was infested with sand fleas and mosquitoes. (In fact, he witnessed an oil lamp extinguished by a cloud of mosquitoes.) He noted that tomatoes, asparagus and eggplant were the principal crops, and flea powder the staff of life.

The citizens had to chose a name for their town in order to establish a post office. The name had nothing to do with attracting the tourism industry. Howell C. Low was appointed as the first postmaster of Flamingo on December 13, 1893. The 1910 federal census record shows 49 people living in Flamingo and Cape Sable. Most listed their profession as farming. There were ten heads of households, with 18 children and seven servants. Five people were cane farmers and one worked in charcoal making. (Charcoal was sold in 100 pound sacks at Key West.) Jobs that other individuals held were boatmen, farmer, hauling cane, cane farming (13) and one was retired. We also know from tradition that many, if not all, fished for cash and food. Most also hunted.

Ranger with a telescope in front of the Flamingo Lodge 1968

Ranger with a telescope in front of the Flamingo Lodge 1968

Marina

Marina

Visitor's Center 1968

Visitor's Center 1968

26 January - Wednesday

Bob has replaced the hoses, and we have the car. So after I finished struggling with email, we drove over to the Eco-Pond and take the walk around it.
Warning sign

Warning sign


There were signs that said "Do Not Approach the Water" (remember it is the outfall for the sewage treatment plant)
Swimming in re-used sanitary water

Swimming in re-used sanitary water


Eco Pond swimmers

Eco Pond swimmers


Wildlife Observation Area.  Fishing and Boating Prohibited.  No Pets.  Eco Pond contains re-used water from the Flamingo Sanitary Treatment Plant

Wildlife Observation Area. Fishing and Boating Prohibited. No Pets. Eco Pond contains re-used water from the Flamingo Sanitary Treatment Plant


There was a path around it and a viewing platform. We saw alligators, ducks, and a purple gallinule
Bob early in the a.m. at the Eco-Pond with heron

Bob early in the a.m. at the Eco-Pond with heron

Alligator and moorhen

Alligator and moorhen

Waterlilies in the Eco-Pond

Waterlilies in the Eco-Pond

Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule

large_100_6094.JPGTrail

Trail

Feathers for Fashion

Feathers for Fashion


The egrets were hunted almost to extinction to provide plumes for ladies hats. I think that the snowy egret's plumes are the most spectacular, especially in the breeding season. Their yellow feet look a little bit like clown shoes but they are a distinguishing mark to differentiate from the immature little blue heron. I'm told that they walk through mud shuffling their feet and stirring up the little mud creatures.
Egret at Eco Pond

Egret at Eco Pond


Cattle Egret (which is an introduced - non-native species often seen along the interstates) is smaller, with shorter, yellow or orange bill and pale legs. The Reddish Egret can be similar as an immature bird, but has a much larger bill, blue-gray legs. The immature Little Blue Heron doesn't have the yellow feet nor the shaggy plumes.

We saw number of butterflies including a bright burnt orange one. There are about 100 species of butterflies at the Everglades.
Butterfly at the Eco Pond

Butterfly at the Eco Pond


We drove out through the Flamingo campground. 234 drive in sites, including 55 with a view of the water, four group sites, 64 walk-up sites (20 on the water's edge). Facilities - Water, Fire Grates, Picnic Tables, Showers, Groceries, and Dump Station. No electric hookups are available.Quiet hours are from 10:00 pm until 6:00 am. Small generators are permitted. Operating hours are from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm.
Flamingo campground

Flamingo campground


and saw people sitting out in the sun getting warm.
Campground in the winter

Campground in the winter


All food and equipment used to cook food or store food when not in use, must be kept sealed in a vehicle or camping unit constructed of a solid, non-pliable material (or inside a food storage facility). Place all garbage in the green dumpster provided. Recycle bins are also available. Close all door and lids to keep wildlife out.

Do not dump sewage or waste water on the ground. Use the dump stations located on the campground. Bathing, washing dishes, food, clothing or other property at public water outlets, fixtures or pools is prohibited. Utility sinks for dish washing are located in the rear of each restroom facility.

Fires are permitted in grills only. Ground fires are not permitted. Only dead wood that is found on the ground may be collected. Do not collect or damage any live vegetation.
Camping Area Flamingo

Camping Area Flamingo


The weather is getting a little warmer and there is supposed to be less wind today. We went to the marina and Bob bought a loaf of bread and sunscreen and mosquito repellent.

I decided that since we had not taken the back country boat trip, we should rent a canoe at the visitor's center and paddle along the Buttonwood Canal. So we did that. (It cost $8 for and hour, plus a $50 deposit which we got back.) The guy who gave us the instruction and helped us board told us not to stand up unless we wanted to go swimming. I only took the film camera in the canoe - didn't want to risk the digital.
Canoes for rent

Canoes for rent


Leaving the rental area in a canoe

Leaving the rental area in a canoe

Heron on the edge of the canal

Heron on the edge of the canal

Canal ahead

Canal ahead


We canoed past the place where there was a large alligator or crocodile on a bunch of sticks,
Alligator on the surface

Alligator on the surface


as far as the bridge. There was a road alongside the canal. We saw a sign that said it was a single lane only.
Signs at the Bridge - End No Wake, Safety Pays - No Wake for Canoes, Slow for Tour Boats

Signs at the Bridge - End No Wake, Safety Pays - No Wake for Canoes, Slow for Tour Boats


Other than the alligator and some ospreys (one eating a fish), we didn't see much wildlife. I had hoped to see a kingfisher, but didn't.
Driving to Mahogany Hammock

Driving to Mahogany Hammock


We drove half way back to US 1, and walked the Mahogany Hammock Trail, part of which was a boardwalk. I remembered doing this with my parents when we lived in Key West.
Mahogany Hammock Trail 1968

Mahogany Hammock Trail 1968


Mahogany Hammock Trail - This boardwalk bridges the sawgrass river and enters a tree island

Mahogany Hammock Trail - This boardwalk bridges the sawgrass river and enters a tree island

View from Mahogany Hammock

View from Mahogany Hammock

Hammock sticks up above the grassland

Hammock sticks up above the grassland


Periphyton - a soft spongy mat of algae

Periphyton - a soft spongy mat of algae

Grasses

Grasses

Grasses

Grasses

Hammock Moat which circles the tree islands

Hammock Moat which circles the tree islands


We saw a small blue bird which I have not identified
A blue bird

A blue bird


There was a poison wood tree (suitably labeled),
Poisonwood - Caution! The leaves, branches and trunk of this tree exude a sap which, when touched can cause a severe rash

Poisonwood - Caution! The leaves, branches and trunk of this tree exude a sap which, when touched can cause a severe rash


Poisonwood is related to poison sumac and poison oak, all members of the cashew or sumac (Anacardiaceae) family. The sap contains alkaloids that cause serious skin and mucus irritations after skin contact. Any part of the tree may carry the sap so handling any part of the poisonwood should be avoided. Learn to recognize the glossy leaves and yellow midvein ending in a drip tip. The deep green leaves are compound and usually have from five to nine leaflets--always an odd number. These are almost always blotted with the telltale signs of the tree's toxicity--small black spots of the poisonous sap that blemish the leaves.Poisonwood - note glossy leaves with black spots and a yellow mid-vein

Poisonwood - note glossy leaves with black spots and a yellow mid-vein


The Poisonwood produces abundant and sweet nectar from its sprays of creamy flowers. The nectar is greedily consumed by nectar-loving birds and insects such as the Bananaquit and many species of butterfly with apparently few ill effects. The fruit of the poisonwood is a favorite food source for the rare white-crowned pigeon. Other birds and animals also enjoy the fruit.
Poisonwood with a yellow bird

Poisonwood with a yellow bird


The sap is not water-soluble and cannot be washed off with simple soap. So when you scratch, the toxins are transported on your fingertips to any other part of your body--or somebody else's--that you happen to come into contact with.

From an article called "The Bark that Bites", "An island remedy for this unfortunate situation is to immediately spray the affected area with WD 40. While this may seem to be an extreme measure, it does work. Any other oil dissolving substance will probably work as well. Just remember to clean the area before you scratch, or you'll be very sorry."
Sabal Palms (Swamp Cabbage)

Sabal Palms (Swamp Cabbage)

Sabal palms

Sabal palms

Sun shining through a palm leaf

Sun shining through a palm leaf


Nurse log - fallen logs support plants and animals

Nurse log - fallen logs support plants and animals


Yellow throated bird

Yellow throated bird

Palms with small bird

Palms with small bird


Bob on the Mahogany Hammock boardwalk in 2005

Bob on the Mahogany Hammock boardwalk in 2005


Snails on a Royal Palm in 1967

Snails on a Royal Palm in 1967


When we first visited the Everglades in 1967, I found the tree snails fascinating. We saw many tree snails in Mahogany Hammock. This time, we didn't see any at any location. Development that eliminates the habitat, Hurricane Andrew in August 1992 which destroyed much of the protected habitat (as much as 80% of the Wild Tamarind Trees were downed), over-collection, and spraying for insects (when the snails ingest the pesticide on the tree and die) have reduced the numbers of the snails to the point where the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission has named the Florida Tree Snail a “Species of Special Concern.” By law, this designation protects them, dead or alive, from collection: a threat more easily controlled than development.

Tree Snails or Liguus snails come in more than 50 different color varieties ranging from nearly solid dark brown, to varieties boldly striped with pink, yellow and green, to solid white - they are often called the jewels of the Everglades. The snails feed on lichen found on trees with smooth bark such as Wild Tamarind, Lysiloma and Jamaica Dogwood. During the dry season, the snails estivate, emerging only after a rainstorm. Tree snails breed, lay eggs, and grow more rapidly during the wet season. A good book to read about these snails is The Liguus Tree Snails of South Florida (Hardcover) by Henry T. Close. The species, Liguus fasciatus, is the most widespread of all the Liguus. Distributed throughout Cuba, Isle of Pines, the nearby coastal islets and keys off the North coast of Cuba, South Florida, and the Florida Keys.

We drove back to Flamingo, with a stop-off at Nine Mile Pond
Nine Mile Pond

Nine Mile Pond


Wildlife of Nine-Mile Pond

Wildlife of Nine-Mile Pond


which is the other place where you can rent canoes without having a way to transport them.
Nine Mile Pond with canoers

Nine Mile Pond with canoers


Evening in Flamingo

Evening in Flamingo

Tonight at dinner, I had Caesar salad,
Caesar salad

Caesar salad


and Bob had mahi mahi with sweet potato (which he shared) and various vegetables which he ate. The soup of the day was mulligatawny which was a cream soup and I ate that. We shared a chocolate fudge cake for dessert and the bill with tip came to $43.71. Not so many steps today for Bob because of the hour in the canoe.
Gift shop windows at night

Gift shop windows at night

Posted by greatgrandmaR 09:37 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Fighting Mosquitoes and Revisiting the Anhinga Trail

Last Day Full Day in the Everglades


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2005 Migrating by Mercedes & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

January 27, 2005 - Thursday

I decided not to get up for the Eco-Pond walk, but I wanted to go back to the Anhinga Trail and do the Gumbo Limbo trail and also go to the ranger talk there at 1:30. So Bob went to the store and got sandwiches and drinks for lunch ($11.79), and then we drove down the road (unpaved) that we saw alongside of Buttonwood Canal yesterday.
Canal

Canal


There is both a canoe trail and a hiking trail to Bear Lake at the end of this narrow road. We tried to hike a bit of this trail, but in spite of the fact that we doused ourselves with OFF, we couldn't stand it and turned back after only about 500 yards.
Mosquitoey Bear Lake trail

Mosquitoey Bear Lake trail


The mosquitoes were unbearable because the area was so overhung with trees that there was no breeze. Even getting in the car as quickly as we could, we still got some in the car. Stuart McIver, in his book True Tales of the Everglades, writes of the old days: "One of the settlers' worst enemies were mosquitos. Stories abound that they had been known to kill cows and mules left out for the night."

These do's and don't's, are provided by the National Park Service.
DON'T roll down your windows when stopping along roadsides to observe wildlife.
DO avoid grassy areas. Walk only on paved areas.
DON'T wear colognes or perfumes.
DO apply mosquito repellent before getting out of vehicle.
DO wear long pants, long sleeves and closed shoes.
DON'T leave doors open longer than necessary.
DO avoid areas under trees and in the shade of buildings.

We drove on up to West Lake thinking there might be some services there, but there wasn't much there.
large_100_6140.JPG
West Lake

West Lake


West Lake has a short boardwalk through the mangroves
Mangrove Trail

Mangrove Trail

West Lake Trail

West Lake Trail


Hurricanes Affect on West Lake

Hurricanes Affect on West Lake


I tried to take photos of some of the spider webs without much success
Spider web

Spider web

Buttonwood and White Mangrove - less salt tolerant

Buttonwood and White Mangrove - less salt tolerant

Black Mangroves have finger-like breathing tubes

Black Mangroves have finger-like breathing tubes


Root systems of the black and red mangroves

Root systems of the black and red mangroves

large_100_6148.JPG
We saw some tiny transparent fingerling type fish in the water
large_100_6150.JPG
Fingerling

Fingerling


and also a swarm of baby spiders on the surface.
Surface Skittering

Surface Skittering


Mangroves of West Lake

Mangroves of West Lake


large_100_6155.JPG
There were warning signs - maximum motor size 6 hp and no motors allowed beyond West Lake. There was also this sign that was too small for me to read until I got back and enlarged the picture.
WARNING</p><p>Health Hazard</p><p>"Do not eat more than one bass per week per adult due to high mercury content. Children and pregnant women should not eat bass."

WARNING

Health Hazard

"Do not eat more than one bass per week per adult due to high mercury content. Children and pregnant women should not eat bass."

We drove on up to the Royal Palm center and I got a third Everglades stamp in my book. I don't like the exhibits in the Royal Palm center because they are abstract drawings of the plants and animals and not realistic. We ate lunch on the benches where the rangers give their talk, right in front of the sign that said not to picnic there (which Bob didn't see until I pointed it out and we were already doing it). We didn't litter or feed any animals though.
An Alligator's S*** Eating Grin

An Alligator's S*** Eating Grin


The Gumbo Limbo Trail start (and finish) is right next to the Anhinga Trail at the Royal Palm Visitor's Center which is four miles from the main entrance.
Gumbo Limbo Trail

Gumbo Limbo Trail


It is also the same length [0.5 miles (800 meters) round trip] as the Anhinga Trail. This self-guiding, paved trail (wheelchair accessible) meanders through a shaded, jungle-like hammock of gumbo limbo trees (Bursera simaruba) and other tropical hardwoods, royal palms (Roystonea elata), ferns, and air plants. It is a much less spectacular trail because it is more plants than animals
Gumbo Limbo after Hurricane Andrew

Gumbo Limbo after Hurricane Andrew


We walked down the Gumbo Limbo trail, although we had to pick our way through a school group (probably between 5th and 7th grade) that was
apparently doing soil sampling and worksheets. They were taking all the seats and also were blocking the path.
Solution Hole

Solution Hole

Bedrock

Bedrock

Gumbo Limbo tree

Gumbo Limbo tree


This picture shows the difference between the soil in the tropical forest and the hardwood forests of the north. Typically the northern forest will have deep rich soil which will make excellent farm land. Tropical forests typically have shallow soil with nutrients found only in the upper few inches. The soil around the roots of this tree is just plain sand. In the tropics, decaying vegetation is recycled immediately back into living plants.
Exposed roots of an tree which has fallen

Exposed roots of an tree which has fallen


The tree roots will extend outward like the palm of your hand to make use of the shallow soils. Because the roots don't go deep into the soil, massive trees can be uprooted by strong winds.
Types of palms

Types of palms


We found that the palm we saw at Mahogany was a paurotis palm.
Warning do not approach wildlife! Never get closer than 15 feet to an alligator.  If it hisses or opens its mouth in defense, back away even further.

Warning do not approach wildlife! Never get closer than 15 feet to an alligator. If it hisses or opens its mouth in defense, back away even further.


Everglades National Park is a wilderness area. All animals are wild and should be viewed with caution. Feeding alligators is a violation of Federal and Florida state law. When people feed alligators, they lose their fear of humans and become dangerous.

We did the Anhinga trail again, this trail is half a mile round trip. It is a self guiding trail (although it is more interesting with the ranger pointing out specific birds and this time the ranger talk was very interesting - mostly about the birds and wildlife in the gator holes.) and it winds through a sawgrass marsh. In the winter, in addition to alligators there are turtles, anhingas, herons, egrets, and many other birds. The trail is paved or boardwalk, so it is wheelchair accessible.
Double Crested Cormorants along the trail edge

Double Crested Cormorants along the trail edge

Cormorant

Cormorant


and in addition to many gators, and cormorants, we saw ibis,
White Ibis

White Ibis


The white ibis is unmistakable, and actually is fairly common. It is a sociable bird and travels in flocks and eats little crayfish and fish eggs. Immatures also travel with the flocks - they are brown above and white below, with brown bill and legs.

I have seen flocks in the Florida Keys around the Trumbo Point trailers in Key West, and at the Marathon end of the Seven Mile Bridge. I've also seen them as far north as Southport NC along the ICW. They have been counted for the Audubon Breeding count (in June) all along the east coast from the south border NC south to Florida, and all around the Gulf Coast. The main idenification point is the long, decurved bill white body plumage in the adult (with black tips to outer primaries), with the bill and facial skin and legs (in the breeding season) red or pinkish red.

The name I think of first when I see an Ibis is Curlew, but curlews are much smaller (although they also have the decurved bill). If you are old enough to remember the L'il Abner Smoo, the body looks a bit like the smoo.
Smoo like White Ibis

Smoo like White Ibis


We saw more wood storks (which I think are the world's ugliest birds)
Wood Stork from the Anhinga Trail

Wood Stork from the Anhinga Trail


Another one

Another one


Wood stork

Wood stork

A small Wood Stork Island

A small Wood Stork Island


I failed for the second time to get a good picture of the water plant flower.
Marsh Flower

Marsh Flower

Paradise Key Hammock

Paradise Key Hammock

Paradise Key Hammock

Paradise Key Hammock

large_100_6188.JPGGreen heron

Green heron

Turtle

Turtle

Turtle

Turtle

Turtle

Turtle


The Slough

The Slough


We saw a great blue heron behaving somewhat peculiarly. He looked like a pervert opening his raincoat.
Great Blue Heron warbling

Great Blue Heron warbling


Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Great Blue heron fishing

Great Blue heron fishing


How many alligators do you see?

How many alligators do you see?

Fish

Fish

We also saw some of the fish at the top of the water gulping airFish

Fish

Fish and turtles

Fish and turtles

Anhinga

Anhinga


Twice we saw a cormorant or anhinga catch and eat a fish. Anhinga spear their fish
Spearing a fish

Spearing a fish


Catching fish

Catching fish


large_x100_6174.JPG
There was a cormorant sitting on the railing along the trail, and I said to him, "You know you smell of fish".

Then we went and did the Pinelands trail which was the one we had not yet done -we saw a red bellied woodpecker, but I screwed up and didn't
get a photo.
A Pine Forest is a Fire Forest

A Pine Forest is a Fire Forest

Hurricane Impact on the Pinelands

Hurricane Impact on the Pinelands


Bob on the Pinelands Trail

Bob on the Pinelands Trail

large_100_6211.JPGlarge_100_6209.JPGFlowers in the Pine forest

Flowers in the Pine forest

Types of snakes

Types of snakes


We didn't see any tree snails although I remember seeing them before.
Tree snails

Tree snails

Posted by greatgrandmaR 17:49 Archived in USA Comments (4)

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