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A Fabulous Day on Florida Bay

Saturday January 25, 2014
Flamingo Campground
Everglades National Park, Florida


We have been at Everglades National Park for 10 days with no phone or internet. This is the 2nd  in a series of quick posts about those days. I wrote them while I was there and am publishing them three per day until I am caught up.




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On my walk from the campground to the amphitheater on the bay where I watch the sunrise, there is a scag tree in which there was always a red shouldered hawk each morning last year when we were here for two weeks.  It was a great beginning to my day to see him there each morning.  But so far this year, I haven’t seen him or anyone in the tree until today.  It’s still very dark when I walk by but from the silhouette I’m pretty sure it’s a kestrel in the tree.  I take a couple of gray looking pictures to see if I can identify him.   Lucky for me, he’s still there on the way back and I get better shots of him.  He’s extremely handsome.  I hope he’ll be around each morning as I walk by.  I’ll look forward to seeing him.



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Good bye to the Kestrel, I walk over to Eco Pond.


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At Eco Pond I find some American Coots,  osprey overhead and in the trees.  The tricolored heron and the lone roseate are here again too. The roseate is again on the far side of the pond making a picture difficult to get.  The pond is sparsely populated again today.



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After circling the pond, I head over to the visitor center.

I get the regular information on weather, tides and programs and check today’s mosquito meter.   Looks pretty good but I’m afraid that the predicted warmer temperatures for this coming week may make it climb.


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It’s Saturday and the week-enders have arrived from Miami I assume.


Walking over to sunrise this morning I find that every parking space in the walk-in campground is filled.  Yesterday morning there were perhaps a dozen cars and tents.  Today the place is packed.  There are several people out for the sunrise and a more than half  a dozen  giant camera lens folks are at Eco pond this morning as well.  It is Saturday after all, so we try to think of something we can do on a Saturday afternoon that won’t be packed with people. 




The winds are down today so a paddle on Florida Bay seems like just the thing.

We take the kayaks over to the amphitheater area where I watch the sun come up, put them in the water and we are off.


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We’re headed for this little mangrove island trying to expand in the bay. 


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We pass the visitor’s Center on our way; a very different view from the water.  



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From there we paddle over to the spot where we saw all the white pelicans yesterday but today we have come out too early.  It is high tide when we put in and the land where they were is now under water.  there are hundreds of willets and a couple of snowy egrets.







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At this point we turn north around the shore line.

We are curious to see what those buildings are that cannot be seen from the Visitor’s Center or from the road which goes north to the park entrance and Homestead. 


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They appear to be very nice water front housing for employees and a lot of it.  At least 3 or 4 buildings with 4 large apartments each.  I’m not sure who is housed here.  At least two of the rangers we have talked with live in Homestead which means they drive 40 miles to work one way each day.


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All along the shore large thick mangroves with huge roots are on our left as we move north through the bay.


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Do you see the heron on the enormous roots?

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We pass by an osprey with a fresh catch for lunch.   He is too busy to be bothered by us.


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I think the mangroves are gorgeous and mysterious.  They provide wonderful habitat for so many and create new land everywhere they can.  It is easy to see why the Native Americans who lived here were never captured by those sent to subdue them.





And then we come to the pelican rookery.  

Numerous pelicans in every tree.  Most seem to be resting but some fly out and do some fishing around us as we sit and watch.









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Too soon, it’s turn around time.


We had hoped to get around to Snake Bite cove but by the time we are ready to move on from the pelicans it is too late to go further.  Time to paddle back.

As we near the visitor center once again, we decide to swing into the marina to see if the manatee are there.





Sure enough, we paddle along side them for a bit.  They are so enormous and so easy going.  They are one of my favorite things in all of Florida.


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We again pass the visitor center.  Really, don’t you just LOVE that pink flamingo color??

We also pass a few cormorants and others before pulling the boats ashore at the end of a wonderful blue skies puffy white clouds Saturday on the waters of Florida Bay.



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  1. It's good to see your posts again. You took some gorgeous bird pictures!

  2. Like you, almost, I have been saving up posts for when we returned from our cruise. We are back in NOLA and your post just came up. How gorgeous, all those birds....and the kayaking! So good to see you back online as we return and get back online ourselves. unlike you, however, we did have internet for rare emails and facebook posts, just no bandwidth to do anything else. Glad to see you two having such a great time.

  3. Gorgeous photos! I noticed that all photos of david are showing him looking the other way or behind a camera...A man of mystery! lol..... Happy that you are having a great time in FL. We are finally on the Gulf Shores! I just sat on the beach and enjoyed the sun, surf and shells.... I even though of how much you like the same things.

  4. A wonderful paddle today. Spoonbills are my very favorite bird! Should be good weather now that the cool temps went on by. Love all the bird photos! Keep 'em coming!

  5. Love the pictures of the blue heron on the mangroves. Just so graceful and lovely!

  6. You're obviously enjoying your time. Every time I see a pelican sitting in a tree, I am reminded that they are light enough to sit on a branch no thicker than a finger ... wouldn't expect that from their size.

  7. I'm almost glad you have no Internet so you had time to roam about and get those fantastic photos, especially the Osprey with the fish. Just fantastic!

    But we did miss you! :c)

  8. What a wonderful paddle!! Perfect day with so much wildlife.

    So glad that there are people who get up to share the sunrise with those of us sleeping...thanks:)

  9. Caught a little typo there. I'm sure you meant to say hundreds of willets and two snowy egrets! ;) Welcome back!

    1. I sure did Judy. Thanks for your sharp eyes. Correction made!

  10. I can't wait to get our kayak out in Florida! Wonderful pictures as usual!

  11. Terrific birds! I cracked up over the mosquito poster :-)

  12. Great Paddle...love the little mangrove island!! Always laughed when I saw the Osprey nest in that little mangrove;o)) They sure are everywhere and SOOO healthy in the everglades!! That looks like the same Kestrel that was at the same spot when we were there last year;o))

  13. Love the mangroves! Great bird pictures, especially the pelican sitting in the tree resting his bill (is that a bill or a beak or...whoa...I should know this!!) Looks like a great kayak day...perfect choice for a busy weekend day :)

  14. Oh, how wonderful are all of your bird sightings! Your weather is so much nicer than what we're having in north Florida. And you certainly know how to enjoy it!

  15. Such a great birding adventure and what a grand way to see them all.

    I'm trying to catch up as I've really missed reading about your Florida adventures. May take me a few days though.


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