Friday, November 21, 2008

Show & Tell {Florida Everglades}

I was on vacation for just over a week and missed two Show & Tells!  And I really did miss them!  The good news is that after vacation I usually have plenty of blog fodder for upcoming Show & Tell weeks. LOL

Our vacation started on Thursday, Nov. 6th, when we drove to Salem, VA and attended the Virginia Tech vs Maryland football game.  That was a new experience!  From there we headed to Jacksonville, FL for one night and then on to Dania Beach, FL (Fort Lauderdale area).

 DH has been a Miami Dolphins fan for years so he and Harrison went to that game on Sunday afternoon.  On Monday we put another notch in our National Parks belt by visiting the Everglades.

First we had to stop for lunch, and the kids found a cooperative alligator.

Then we went into the park, where our views of live alligators were - thankfully - not quite so close up.  There is an American Alligator in the slide show below, but it doesn't show up very well at all in the picture. *sigh*  My zoom has its limitations.  The alligators weren't hard to see - we saw several - but they apparently didn't want their picture taken.

We did see plenty of Anhingas on the aptly named Anhinga Trail.  I learned that the reason they sit with their wings open to dry them like this, is because unlike many other birds, they do not have oil glands for preening.

Other birds we spotted (and identified!) included:

Little Blue Heron

Great White Heron (and Great Blue); American Bittern

ospreys;  Brown Pelicans;  Double-crested CormorantsWhite Ibis;  various egrets, ducks, plovers, sandpipers, hawks, falcons, gulls and terns; and all kinds of perching birds that would take far much time and space to list!

This pond covered with a bright green water plant looked interesting:

Many of the trees were covered with Spanish Moss.

We also walked the Gumbo Limbo Trail, mainly because we were intrigued by the name.

I had never heard of it before, but the Gumbo Limbo is a type of tree!

On this trail we didn't see many animals, mostly insects and those little lizards that are everywhere in Florida.

The next trail we chose was Pahayokee Overlook, which was a boardwalk over what looked like a huge marsh.  It's surprising that the water is so clear and clean, until you remember that it isn't a swamp or a marsh at all, but a very wide and shallow "river."  The last time I could see this many miles over such a flat landscape was on the Alberta prairie a year ago.

Kennady was taking her Junior Ranger duties quite seriously, and did her best to act as a tour guide.  Obviously she really enjoyed the day.

We drove as far as the Flamingo Visitor Center, which is the end of the road - literally.  The lodging  area there was severely damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma and it was kind of sad to see the buildings looking in such poor repair.  While there we could look out over the bay.

Kennady and Landon were awarded their Junior Ranger badges (Landon declined to have his picture taken though)

Over near the marina, I managed to get a picture of an osprey and of their nests.

We found this crab on the road and let him snap at our shoes, which entertained the kids!

While I was in the marina store, the others got lucky enough to see an American Crocodile and boy I was mad that I missed that! It was starting to get dark, so it was time for us to head back to our hotel.

We stopped at one more pond for a bit of a look-round, and saw this alligator (his eyes and nose are visible) - I used VERY little zoom to get this picture, and only because we were careful to keep a safe distance as there was literally nothing between us.  I'm glad the boys opted not to get out of the van here, because they likely would have run headlong right up to the waters edge. 

One more stop to get some sunset pictures...

Thanks for coming along on my tour of the Everglades!

As always, Show & Tell is hosted by CanadaGirl, and you are invited to visit her blog to participate and to see more Show & Tell entries.


Prncsstefy said...

Beautiful!!! So you didn't see a lot of gators then? When we went they were all over. Often blocking the paths. LOL

Jessy said...

Beautiful sunsets! Fun photos! We were just watching a "Men vs. Wild" (Discovery) in the Everglades! LOL Love the photos of the birds - will show those to the kids later!

basketflat said...

What a neat and beautiful vacation. I love all the wildlife. Too bad you couldn't get a better shot of the alligators. All the interesting plant life is neat too. I hope we get to visit there someday - it looks beautiful.

blessedwith2angels said...

Beautiful photos. It looks like you had a great trip. I love the picture of your ds with his head in the alligator's mouth.


Anita said...

I love your pictures!!

SuzyScribbles said...

Wow. I've never been anywhere near where you went, but it looks so unique and . . . alligators??? Wow, again. And I've never seen such a flat sight, either, when I saw that marsh-whatever.

jenn4him said...

Looks like there were lots of opportunities for learning on your vacation. Very neat.


Haflingerhorses said...

What a beautiful sunset. I'm glad you had a wonderful vacation, lots of learning for thd little ones (a nature hunt vacation!) and got lots of pictures for us.


PlainJane said...

Ahhh, I can even smell Florida while looking at your photos. Thanks for sharing all those. One time when my family was down there my parents got hooked into one of those land development schemes, that tried to sell them some swamp land in the Everglades. lol That was about ohhh, maybe 35 or so years ago, and I don't think a single one of their "homesites" ever came to fruition. My mother is gulliable, but thankfully, that was one money loser she didn't buy into.

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