Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Everglades National Park: Goin’ North to A……….

Tuesday January 28, 2014
Flamingo Campground
Everglades National Park

We have been at Everglades National Park for 10 days with no phone or internet.
This is the 4th in a quick series of posts about those days. I wrote them while I was there and am publishing them two or three per day until I am caught up.
If you’d like to see #2
A Fabulous Day on Florida Bay, or #3 Not Such a Great Idea: Bear Lake trail and more, or #4 Morning and Mzarek in the Everglades,  published earlier, click their titles.




Well not A –laska   just yet   but to the A-nhinga Trail. 
40 miles north to be exact.


One of the commenters on the previous blog advised me to be sure and see this trail.  It is already definitely on my return to list this year.  It is just as great as it was last year so get prepared because this is a spectacular day inside and out.  Many many pictures.


We are heading north on the only road out of Flamingo at about 8am.  We see this sign as we turn down the road to the Anhinga Trail.  It just makes me smile to think that at least a few – a very precious few sadly – wild panthers live here and in freedom.  We must be careful not to harm them.  Their biggest problems are cars and lack of habitat as the urban areas grow ever closer to them.  A male needs 200 acres in which to roam and breed, a female 80.  No wonder there are so few of these beautiful wild creatures.  If I never see one it will be fine as long as I know they are there and able to live their lives naturally.





I neglect to take pictures of us wrapping Ruby up in a tarp to protect her rubber pieces around the windows from vultures.  No one knows why they like to peck on the cars but sometimes they do and if you arrive in time you can get one of the tarps the park service makes available along with bungee cords for you to use.  They are sitting in a chest along the walkway to the parking area.


There is a very nice park store here and unlike Flamingo they do sell bug spray.  But we didn’t need it today.  I’m thinking that there aren’t as many mangroves so perhaps there aren’t as many mosquitoes.   It is a lovely day, just the kind of day we came to the Everglades for.




This “trail” is actually a board walk and a very popular one.  It has more wildlife in one place than probably any where else in the park.   But even if you aren’t a crowds person, as I am not, you must come here.  It is a must see.




The boardwalks run all along the waterways and the birds and gators are everywhere.   Cormorants,  wood storks, egrets and herons are all shopping for food here.  They are not contained her so this just must be a place with lots of their particular delicacy.








How about those blue cormorant eyes?   They are so striking.   And the burgundy of the vulture.  I was pretty pleased with the vulture picture since he didn’t look YUCKY at all.   He’s such an important bird.  Imagine cleaning up all the road kill and other debris that he takes care of.  And all for free, no charge for environmental clean up.







In several different spots we come upon these beautiful purple gallinules.   As you can see, I couldn’t stop taking pictures of them with the striking faces and subtle feather colored backs of blues and greens.   Such beauty and designs in nature.  We couldn’t improve upon it or duplicate it if we had to.









And he’s light enough to walk on a lilly pad.   Nature is so amazing!




I think this picture gives a good look at the colors which explain the name Tri colored heron.  His dark blue head neck and wings almost look gray in my picture.  He has white undersides and than pinkish brown on his back.





Alligators and anhingas are swimming along in the water beside the walkway.







We turn left and look all along the sides as we continue along the boardwalk.  Who knows what we might see.




I spy this anole who isn’t along the side, he’s walking across the board walk and politely poses.  He’s able to change color from green to brown to match backgrounds so that appears to be what he has done here.  Now I think that would be a great trait to be able to change your skin tone to look as tan as you like without baking your skin which is what has happened when our skin turns color.






But out in the grasses where I wouldn’t want to be walking we see an alligator nearly hidden.




We spy another on the bank and what I think are a number of gar swimming in the water.  I had no idea Florida gar were so beautiful.









You can’t walk very fast around here or you’ll miss something like this Green heron hiding along the edges.





Next thing we know we’ve come to the anhinga rookery where there are nests galore and juvenile anhingas.  Every time I come here I am just amazed that they nest so close to where so many people are from daylight to dusk.







Mom isn’t even keeping much of a watch.  Although some are busy bringing in food.  Others are drying off after a swim.







Now you can see why it’s called the anhinga trail.  They are everywhere on this back rookery section.





This youngster is hoping from branch to branch flapping his wings.  Seems like he’s getting ready to fly.  But not just yet.




We leave the rookery and head for what many think is the main event.  This is what we see when we first come up.






Closer looks show piles of alligators, literally.  Why do they hang out here in such numbers of their own free will?  I wish I could have found a ranger to ask.  There is only a store here, not a visitor center.  They do ranger talks and I am determined to come back another year and spend at least a week staying at the no hook ups Big Pine Key campground so I can do some of the ranger talks and walks on this end of the park. There is so much to do here in Everglades National park and it is huge. So come back next February and perhaps I’ll have the answer to the question.  But for now they are fascinating to watch.








Even closer looks show alligator gloves. I didn’t know they had claws like that, did you?







And some severe over bites that no orthodontist I know would be willing to deal with.




Have you ever seen anyone more relaxed watching a pile of alligators about 10 feet away?







Amazingly, while we watch, a great blue heron and then an egret fly in and begin fishing just up from the gators.  How can they be sure these gators have already had dinner?






The little green heron is hunting right along the shore






A gator slips in the water which is so clear, I can still see him even though just his eyes and nose are above the water. 




The heron looks like he’s trying to imitate a reed.  If he weren’t on these lily pads and was in among the grasses, I’m sure I’d have never seen him.




Another gator comes out of the water walking on those little legs as he crawls over everyone and jostles the piles. It’s wonderful to watch them stand “up” and walk. 










It’s hard to tell whose legs are whose.




Many of the folks around him are not phased.





We’ve spent quite a bit of time here as you can see and it’s time to head over to the visitor center and get at least one blog posted and see what’s new there.   On our way back down the path to the car I can’t stop myself from taking just a few more pictures of the green heron, the  beautiful fluffy looking egret, the great blue preening.











Remember the cormorant’s blue eyes?  How about these of the anhinga?   Both gorgeous but very different.  That I take so many pictures of birds’ eyes today will turn out this afternoon to be one of those “coincidences”.






With those eyes, we find we have spent over 4  hours on the Anhinga trail which is just over half a mile long.  But you can see why.

We head up to the Coe visitor center where we have a bite of lunch and then some internet time before spending the rest of the afternoon in the center.   But it deserves a post of its own.  Seriously, you won’t want to miss it.  What we found there was educational, informative and very moving.   One exhibit was simply astounding.  How’s that for a cliff hanger???


  1. Great walk, great photos, and yes, I love all those eyes...and the gator piles especially...

  2. I'm waiting for your next post, biting my nails (without an overbite) in anticipation. ;c)

    Nature is certainly amazing, no wonder you spent four hours there. I bet you wished you could have stayed longer.

    Those gators looked like they were having their own Super Bowl pile on!

  3. Oh, WOW, those pictures are just gorgeous! I have never paid attention to the color of bird's eyes before, but I am gonna start now! I LOVE those purple birds. Mother Nature is such an artist! Those alligators make me weak in the knees. I have never seen that many at one time before. Such a great visit you are having! Wish I could join you next Feb!


  4. What a neat post! Thanks Sherry. Those eyes are soooo pretty. I'm ready for your next installment!

  5. Another great day for you all in the Glades....that's a lot of Gators out there, that's for sure. Great bird shots too. --Dave

  6. My Oh My those pictures are wonderful, beautiful!!! I don't know how you get such clear pictures. The eyes of those birds. I've never paid attention before. I will now though. And all those alligators. I hope you had a zoom lens on your camera and you weren't really that close.....

  7. wow, Sherry… great close ups! indeed look at those yes… beautiful and I remember walking that walk … the alligators were fascinating …

    nothing like the Everglades… and some bozos wanted to drill for oil … seriously!

    You see anything that indicates any further action? rat bastards

  8. Love the Anhinga Trail:o)) Great photos and the PILES of alligators reminded me of Deep Hole!!

  9. Great pictures- looks like a good time in the glades :)

  10. Other than passing through the Everglades area, it's somewhere we've never explored. Between you and a couple of others bloggers, it's sure moved up on our list.

  11. You outdid yourself on the photos today. Excellent! Nice that the mosquitoes allowed you to take a leisurely walk.

  12. Really enjoying your Everglades tour, such beautiful pictures. There are suppose to be alligators here at Brazos Bend State Park but haven't seen any, think it's too cold for them.

  13. Sherry, we are planning to visit Everglades Nat.l Park next month. Now, on account of your blog, I am chomping at the bit to get there sooner. I can't wait to trace your footsteps on the Anhinga Trail. Love, love, love all the pics.

  14. An amazing place. The good side to the crowd is that perhaps more people will develop an appreciation for our wild America.

  15. Wow, piles of alligators! The one picture reminded me of the den of snakes in the Indiana Jones movies :-) The Everglades sure have much to offer!

  16. Great wildlife photos! Makes me miss Florida! We're enjoying Arizona this winter, and it's been great, but I kindof miss all the birds and alligators!

  17. Neat pictures - especially of the alligators. Reminded me of the piles of marine iguana's in Galapagos that we saw. We had trouble in our last house with the vultures - they destroyed all the rubber seals around our sliding doors - Carol was terrified they were trying to get in the house to kill the dogs or cats. We later learned they just like chewing rubbery things (like road kill).

  18. That is a ton of wildlife in a short distance! The cormorant's eyes look like emeralds. Love the blue circling the anhingas eyes. I must be one of the few people who like vultures. I find them fascinating- maybe because if their size. The purple gallinulles are gorgeous- take all those colors and makes fabric and you'd have a beautiful dress. I had a pet anole lizard when I was a kid- thought he was a boy until he laid an egg. The alligators look creepy all piled up. Something about all of them in a pile is icky. Great pictures and I am learning bird names I didn't know- xxxooo

  19. oh my word. . .what an absolutely fabulous day!

  20. Love all the gators. We had a great time riding our bikes and walking right next to them on the trail in Shark Valley. It was nice there for photos because all the wildlife was so tame and not at all afraid. The wildlife certainly was relaxed for your visit on the Anhinga Trail. You captured some amazing photos! Glad the mosquitoes were staying away!

  21. What wonderful photos! The purple gallinules are gorgeous -- and the eye of the anhinga is mesmerizing. The Anhinga trail is definitely on our to-do list -- but I think for next winter, before the mosquitoes hatch -- I hope, I hope. Glad you had a mosquito-free day!

  22. That is a fantastic place to see alligators, that's for sure! Fantastic photos today!

  23. What a terrific trail ... love the blue eye.

  24. another thing you might want to ask yourself....what do all the gators eat? and you'll have an answer as to why there are so many of them in that area. Plentiful food!

    Beautiful pictures and makes me want to go back to the 'glades

  25. So many alligators! Big reunion there. The birds are amazing. I still find vultures to be unattractive, but they certainly do play an important role in the circle of life! 4 hours for .5 miles...how wonderful! Thanks for letting us join the fun you lucky ducks :)

  26. All so beautiful except perhaps the vulture which is a face only a mother could love. Looks like a leathery mask they wear. Perhaps that plays a role in the hygiene of a scavenger.

  27. OMG, vultures chewing on rubber is as bad as hyenas biting tires. And those alligators are closer to the trail than I've seen crocs from the car window. Wonder how long it takes them to digest a meal?


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