Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Shark Valley

I had to pass thru the Miccosukee Indian Reservation to get from the Big Cypress Preserve to the Everglades NP. So I stopped at the gas station there to fill up.  They pump your gas...and they had a garage attached to the gas station...The Busted Knuckle...

Repair and Despair under one roof...haha.

Then on to the first stop for me in the everglades...

Shark Valley, I thought it was a strange name for a swamp for surely sharks do not live here...I was right! LOL.  This  sea of grass empties into the Shark River and the 10,000 islands of Monroe Co, FL. 


Shark Valley is located at the northern boundary, and it has a great paved walk/bike way that follows along side a canal on one side and scrubby trees and the marsh grass on the other.  


There is a tram you can ride around if you so desire that takes about 2 hrs to do the 15 mile loop and I think you have to make reservations I was there 9 am on a  Saturday morning, and only 2 people were on it!.  You can also rent a bike if you want to do it that way...since Casey had to wait in the van I had a time limit.  It was however mostly cloudy so I didn't worry about him getting hot in the shade, with the windows open, and his fan on. I got my passport stamped, then headed off down the tram trail.

The first bird I saw was the Blue Gray Gnat Catcher


And another Eastern Phoebe, I saw quite a few of them in FL...


A red bellied woodpecker stopped "bugging" long enough for me to get his photo..


I saw much of what you would expect anhinga, cormorant, egret, heron,...this anhinga has some really cool head feathers


butterflies were around and flowers were in bloom...here is a Zebra butterfly


I liked it when the scrubby trees opened up  and provided a really nice look at the saw grass marsh.


Palm warblers were everywhere...


as were alligators 


I found this empty snail shell..it was still wet and sticky so must have just been eaten!!


And this american bittern came out of hiding and then did what most bitterns will do, stand very still with the head and neck pointing straight up...I assume trying to disappear or blend in with the grass by exposing all  his awesome stripes. 


I power walked back to the parking lot when the sun started to peep out from the clouds....Only one tram went around while I was there and I found the bicycles to be a PIA as they zoomed by with loud music playing and with hardly a concern that they nearly wiped me out a couple times as some must have been in training for speed racing...

If you walk all the way to the observation tower it is a vast look out of the saw grass marsh.  But I was not up to walking 15 miles!


More Everglades upcoming....

PEACE
Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

12 comments:

  1. Wow, I am loving all your trip photos! The bittern shot is amazing, and that anhinga face is just ridiculous.

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    1. Thanks Jen, I am enjoying all your Mexico photos...the anhinga is such a common bird but it is extremely beautiful!!

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  2. Love the anhinga never saw one before what a great shot of the bettern so graceful looking. the little flowers are so crisp and the purple is just fantastic. Some times these bike riders think they own the roads and walk ways carry a big stick and look like you will use it. haha

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    1. Anhingas were all over the place its the perfect habitat for them with water deep enough to dive and full of food!

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  3. I'm truly amazed at the variety of birdlife there. I think that many peoples perception of Florida is misplaced as over here it tends to be marketed as mainly holiday venues for families and youngsters. As both a cyclists and a walker I have a feet in two camps, and what should happen is that both parties have a mutual respect for each ones right to be on the trail. Unfortunately it doesn't always happen aand at various times both parties can be in the wrong.

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    1. I agree I think it would help if they had the bikes going one direction and the walkers going the other so everyone can see everyone--I have seen this on other multi-use type trails.

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  4. Palm warblers and A. bittern....I'm in love! :) How awesome you are traveling again. We are talking about the Everglades for next year, but wonder how two loner vacationers might do there?

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    1. If you went like on the fine line between the season it may not be crowded, I didn't really run into crowding as an issue for me, The hiking trails were full of mosquitoes! I chose it for the hope of seeing new birds and it was easy for me to reach within a days drive. AND if you have your own boat you can get out where there are no crowds!

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  5. Another great place that I never visited while I lived in Florida. I'm so ashamed.

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    1. Well there is still time! I just finished reading an article about the Fed & State plan to restore the Everglades to its former state by building bridges to allow water to flow south again after hwy 41 basically cut off the slow flow. SO it will be even better in a few years.

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  6. We are hoping that restoration plan comes into effect eventually (your comment above)...but Florida politics and Big Sugar have a way of wrecking every environmentally friendly endeavor.

    Anyway ... We like Shark Valley, , but skipped it this time. Once on the tram we saw an alligator eating a still recognizable soft shell turtle. A little boy on the tram was inconsolable. His mother wasn't much help.... I wanted to explain things to him. Excep for him, it was a great informative tour.

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    1. Nature can be brutal...
      I saw lots of sugar cane filled trucks up around the Lake Okeechobee area, I'm sure they carry a lot of political clout.

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