Friday, November 14, 2014

South Florida Adventures

On the south end of Lake Okeechobee is a great quiet place to spend a few days.  We camped at South Bay and walked the high dike morning and evening finding plenty of birds: herons and egrets flew in and out each day; eagles, Fish Crows, rails, Purple Gallinules and Purple Swamphens.
Fish Crow and young Bald Eagle sound off

Halloween Pennant

Along the campground were many butterflies and dragonflies, alligators sunned themselves along the edge of the ponds.  We even saw a Manatee swimming up the canal.
Julia Heliconian

Zebra Longwings

Crested Caracara

We took a day trip south through the Seminole Reservation and the north end of the Everglades wilderness area.  We found Crested Caracaras, Am. Kestrels, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, 8 species of shorebirds on a roadside flooded field and flocks of blackbirds where we found the rare Shiny Cowbird.
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

American Kestrel

White Peacock

Eastern Amberwing

We walked along the dike and added Black-bellied Whistling Ducks to our growing year list which know stands at 558.

The area fields are growing sugar cane and the smoke from the burning of the cane plus the fog made for some magnificent sunrises and sunsets.

A nice surprise was that Ty's brother Daryl and wife Vicki drove over to spend the day from Port St. Lucie.  We are looking forward to spending two months this winter near them.

We spent a week at Miami Everglades RV Park, enjoying the local birding and the nice swimming pool.  This area is surrounded by agricultural fields including bananas.  We found the blossom and small growing fruit fascinating.
Monk Parakeet

White-eyed Parakeet

We drove into South Miami and Kendal looking for exotic birds that have come to make South Florida their home.  We found four species of Parakeets: Monk, Red-Masked, Yellow-Chevroned, and White-Eyed.  We wish these birds didn't like city life as the traffic and parking is terrible

We ventured east to Biscayne Bay National Park where over 90% protects underwater habitat.  The clear water gave nice views of colorful tropical fish like the Needlefish above.

We then headed south to Everglades National Park which they call the "river of grass".  The highest point is the road and hammocks that are 4 feet above sea level.
Red-shouldered Hawk at Flamingo Campground

We saw 102 species of birds making it worth the trip, even getting bitten by all the mosquitoes and gnats.

We took a boat trip out into Florida Bay finding all the egrets and herons including the Great White Heron.  We also found a lone Magnificent Frigatebird  flying along the shore toward Key West.
American Crocodile 

The many Black Vultures along Anhinga Trail at Royal Palm were trying to cover the sign changing illegal to legal to feed them.  We diligently covered the windows and mirrors of the RV as these guys love to chew up rubber gaskets and windshield wipers.
The handsome Black Vulture

Tricolored Heron

White Ibis and Wood Stork

Great White Heron

Purple Gallinule

Short-tailed Hawk at the Everglades

We are back in the Miami area at the Larry & Penny Thompson County Park for two days before heading north to Loxahatchee and Port St. Lucie.

We pray everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!!
Ty & Ida Baumann

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