However, Florida does advertise its state parks as "the real Florida" which is how I feel about the wilder parts of this state. And, believe it or not, it is a very busy place, even on Christmas Day! The visitor center, gift shop, and tram and boat tours are closed, but lots of people have been riding bikes and walking around watching the birds and animals.
This is a great blue heron in breeding plumage. He is still fishing, but based on the photo shown to me by a nearby photographer, he had just eaten a 9" fish! He should be stuffed with that size of meal.
And this is an American bittern. It is identified by its plumage and down-turned bill.
And one of my favorite--a roseate spoonbill.
If you look in the sky, you can see hundreds of black vultures flying around.
And a good-sized alligator.
This is a white ibis, identified by its all white coloring, yellow legs, and down-turned bill. It has black under its wings that can be seen when it flies.
The road to what they call "The Birdwalk" which is a boardwalk into the lake.
A flock of white pelicans. These are huge, heavy birds, much bigger than the brown pelicans that are more common.
And these are invasive wild hogs. They dig up the ground with their snouts, making the land looking like it has been plowed and damaging many plants and young trees. They used to shoot them, but I noticed a lot of traps around this trip. I asked the ranger if they were making any progress eliminating these, but he said at least they were keeping the status quo. Considering how many babies one sow can produce in a year, that is not too bad.