Sunday, January 20, 2013

1/20 Everglades National Park

I had planned to spend more than a week in the Flamingo Campground in this park, but since there was no cell phone service at all, I cancelled the last few days and returned to another campground in Big Cypress Swamp farther north.  In the three days I did stay there, I took a boat tour of the back country.  Had to ride my bike a little over a mile to get to the marina, but it was a good road and no traffic.   

Unfortunately, there weren't very many birds along the boat tour, but it was a pleasant day, and it got us away from the tiny gnats that were swarmed everywhere. 

The Royal Palm area near the park entrance had much more to see.  First, this is the area where vultures have been a problem by eating car windshield wipers and chewing on the black rubber window seals.  The birds actually do not eat these things--they just pull them off, apparently for the fun of it.

In Myakka, there had been primarily turkey vultures with their red heads.  Here, there were black vultures, the other type of trouble-maker.  The first photo shows a bird up close and personal.  These are large birds, by the way, and do not seem afraid of humans.  I was about 3' away when I took this photo.

And here is a small flock of these bad birds:
  And some more bad birds:

Apparently, these turkey and black vultures have been coming to Florida for a long time, but the numbers seem to be growing, and they are becoming more of a nuisance.  

The Royal Palm visitor center has a boardwalk and long path along a canal where wthere was a lot to look at.  First, I saw a tri-colored heron.  Here are two of these birds:

I also saw a bird that was identified for me as a purple gallinule:

At the end of the path, was a pond full of alligators.  This is the most I have seen in one place, and I counted 15 just in this small area:

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