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

Henry David Thoreau

Morning and Mrazek in the Everglades

Monday January 27, 2013
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 three per day until I am caught up.  Although 3 per day may be optimistic since the internet here in Big Cypress is taking a very long time to post anything.  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, published earlier today, click their titles.




It’s a fog shrouded Everglades Morning.



AM Eco Pond (21)A

Connie Troops puts it perfectly when she says in her book on The Everglades, “ On many mornings in the stillness of the dawn, fog shrouds the landscape, lending a remote and mysterious appearance to the Everglades.  Before the first breath of wind swirls the mist, vague silhouettes of gnarled trees and roosting birds drift on a featureless grey backdrop.”   This seems even more true with each morning I go out at dawn as the days get hazier, hotter and more humid.


Thursday will be the new moon so this morning there is only a sliver in the deep blue sky.








Early fishermen in boats and on wings are out early as the sun begins to burn off the haze and color the world before it rises over the horizon..












As I walk away from the shore and toward Eco Pond, I see neither the hawk nor the kestrel are in the scag tree.  Today it is a trio of diversity.





One last look over my shoulder shows the blaze of light that will soon heat everything up to 80 degrees they say.




The sun hasn’t gotten to Eco Pond yet so the haze remains.





How about these bookends???



I go a little over board with the roseate spoonbills.  I’m so happy to see them.  I know Carrie won’t mind and I’ll bet you won’t either.













As I walk around the pond through foliage, I spy this Gulf Fritillary butterfly.




Roseates aren’t the only birds at the pond this morning.   The double-crested Cormorant, white ibis, tri colored heron and little blue heron and great blue heron are also here.









Here’s my latest entry in the attempt to get a picture of the lightning fast kingfisher.  He  really is there if you look closely.







The conditions rule out the hiking and kayaking trails we were hoping to do today.  So now what?


By mid morning it is H-O-T and H-U-M-I-D.   That of course means mosquitoes and not a day for a hike or a paddle down lined trails.  Instead after reading for a while, we drive up to Mrazek Pond one side of which faces the road and is away from the mangroves and hopefully the mosquitoes.  We take our chances in short sleeves and shorts so we won’t melt.  82 degrees seems much hotter here with the 110% humidity.

What we find is a bonanza of birds.   The pond is full of coots and moorhens, green winged teals, blue winged teals, reddish egrets and more.





For the ducks it’s “bottoms up”.






Lots of those bottoms up are coots.  They are so cute.






I wish my camera and I were good enough at dealing with the light to pick up the details of these feathers. 
They are just gorgeous.





Wish I could see the pictures this guy takes with his mega lens.  I’d think you could see every feather on the coot’s back.




We see anhingas in the water fishing, their snake necks peeking out every once in a while.  And then they strike a pose while drying their gossamer looking wings.




Roseate Spoonbills are in the water and in the air.



Reddish egrets dancing around stirring up the fish so they can catch them.  These birds are among the most fun to watch as they prance and dance around.




I’m not sure if these moorhens are now called Gallinules or not.  “They” keep changing the name but they are moorhends to me and I like their candy corn colored bills.




The stars of the show for us are the blue and green winged teals since we have not seen them here before.  In my Florida bird book, only the blue wing with their white face stripe are listed so perhaps the green are rare down here but they are quite spectacular.

I learned that the blue winged teal is one of the smallest ducks in North America and one of the longest distance migrating ducks, with widespread nesting as far north as Alaska.  Obviously they prefer Flamingo in the winter time, we do too.






The green winged teal male has a brown head and a dark green patch that shows in the sunlight.  It looks black in the shade. 














Clearly the little ducks are no competition for the food of the great egret but when a great blue heron flies in squawking, the egret moves to another spot.  







The tri colored heron is much easier to spot along the shore than is the little green heron who blends in so well with his surroundings few of my pictures of him are in focus.








Time to head home for dinner so we say THE END to Mrazek Pond.  We will definitely return before our time here is up.



On the way back, we stop at Eco Pond to see if the mosquitoes have lightened up.   Not much we find but we do stay a short while to watch the Reddish Egret dancing around.   I love his colors including his partially pink bill.












And finally we stop by the scag tree when I see someone new is there.   It is the red shouldered hawk I had been expecting to see when we arrived here.  Such beautiful beautiful creatures on this amazing planet of ours.   It was definitely a great day for birds including Florida’s state bird, the mosquito.



  1. Your photos make Florida look so appealing, but having lived there we know better!

  2. Florida IS appealing...just not all the time...like anywhere else, you need to be in the right place and the right time. I have experienced some incredibly magical moments in Florida. Sherry, your birds are wonderful, but I am not sure I could handle those mosquitoes, although we do have them in Rocky Point for most of the summer, so I deal with them there as well.

  3. Your photography is stunning! We have a reservation for 10 days in Flamingo beginning the end of this month. We had already been thinking that 10 days might be too long and are feeling that may be true, given the aggressiveness of the mosquitoes due to all the rain. If you had to do it again, would you book for 10 days or perhaps something less?

    1. Hi LuAnn, thanks so much for your comment. Glad to have you here. Flamingo is fantastic. Last year in early February we had no trouble with the mosquitoes except at dawn and dusk. I don't know what late February may be like. If you are willing to restrict your activities a bit, it is just a lovely place and there are lots of things to do. We usually stay 2 weeks and our biggest problem is the lack of phone and internet. Hope this helps.

    2. We have a few days in Naples then are headed to Midway so we are going to be like two ships passing in the night. :( Terry (hubby) and I were just saying that we seem to be doing FL in the opposite direction as everyone else. We were in KY and wanted to get to FL as soon as possible so we headed to the panhandle. Given this is our first time here, we are learning from so many of you.

  4. Again, beautiful shots of the birds that are so common in the Everglades. Lovely!

  5. I can simply tell you didn't have a very good time there, now did you? ;)

  6. Thanks again for all the lovely photos, your blog is just quite ducky!

  7. We loved Mrazek pond last year. Your photos are amazing. While you are in the Everglades be sure to do the Anhinga Trail boardwalk. It is fantastic!

  8. I always love to see you announce how beautiful and wondrous this old planet is... and, as you know, the Everglades are a huge ! part of the ecological system. I think coots are cute too ;) btw... Stephanie's IN!!! starts tomorrow morning ...

  9. I don't think I've ever seen so many different types of birds in one place. Amazing, lovely pictures. Thank you!

  10. I'm guessing you just take your chances when it comes to winter weather in the Everglades;o(( I would think January and early February would be perfect...but sounds more like March and April with the heat and humidity!! Regardless, you have some beautiful bird photos for your efforts and there is no such things as too many Roseate Spoonbills:o))

  11. Wow! Fantastic photos:) So glad you added lots of photos of the spoonbill. That one on flight is great. We saw several on out bike trip yesterday but they were too far for my camera. I'll keep watching.

    I send your blog to LuAnn (Paint Your Landscape) since I knew you were where they were headed. They will get a lot a good ideas from your posts.

  12. Wow! You weren't kidding that there were a lot of birds! The anhinga looks like Batman with the wigs spread out like that! Love the spoonbills! They are so unusual- and you caught one flying which was really cool! The ducks are pretty. I especially like the last picture of the green headed one- I like the way he is posed and his colors are beautiful. I think, though, my favorite (even though his colors are not exotic) is the coot. He has a lovable face. XXXOOO

  13. Hahaha - the mosquito as the state bird...they like to think so! Fantastic diversity for sure - I loved the spoonbills, of course, especially the one flying - what a beautiful color and wingspan they have. The colors are amazing on those ducks, as well. Eye catching!! I loved the beginning of this blog too - 'shrouded in fog' - beautiful writing :)

  14. Love the spoonbills -- they're always my favorites. Then again, those little green winged teal are wonderful -- and the reddish egrets…okay, I love them all!! Mrazek Pond looks like a fabulous birding spot.

  15. Your really wonderful early morning pictures do convey the feeling of the dawn for those of us sleepy heads who rarely make it out to see first hand. Beautiful! Thank you!!

  16. That first shot is over the top Amazing and goes well with the quote. The spoonbills in South Africa are all white and so fun to watch fishing with jerky movements. And the Kingfishers here are very fast and also difficult to photograph. A most unusual egret with the colorful bill. So many wonderful bird sightings. I get lens envy every time I see one of those monsters. Just think of what we could do with one of those.


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