Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Shark Valley Everglades

My Dad and I went to the Everglades on Saturday  December 29th. I read on the website that the park was open 24 hours. It isn't, so we were there an hour before the park opened. I'm glad we were though. We were able to see more wildlife in that hour then we were the rest of the time we were there. There was a nice little area we parked our car. The fish were jumping out of the water to catch bugs.
 I got a lot of pictures of birds but most of them were far away. We saw 24 different species of birds.

 The bird pictured above is a Great White Egret. We saw a bunch of these beauties. They are really big!
 Can you spot the Egret in this picture?
 Here he is coming in for a landing.

 Above is a Blue Grey Gnat Catcher. He is at the top of the tree line.
 This one was my favorite. I spotted it before my Dad. It is a Green Heron. His colors were amazing. He was sitting really still on his branch and we were seeing a lot of other birds around him.
 Our first Alligator of the day.  We stopped counting because there were so many but I think we saw around 30 different Alligators. There aren't any fences or guard rails along the paths so you have to keep your eyes out for alligators. There are signs everywhere saying to stay 15ft away from them. The tour guide told us some scary stories so I kept my distance.

 After the fifth alligator my Dad asked me if I was going to take a picture of every Alligator we saw :)
 I love how the birds opened their wings to get sun.
 Above is a Gallinule. He had pretty purple iridescent feathers.
 Pretty white moth.

 We took a two hour tram tour. It was a nice ride and we got to see a lot of things in a shorter amount of time. I think next time I'd rather walk. Then we would have been able to see more birds. We did get some nice information from the guide though.
 It was nice having my own Biologist sitting next to me, he was able to tell me anytime the guide gave misinformation.

 This was taken from the top of the observation tower.

 I saw a large snapping turtle. I think he was about four feet long.
 The water was actually really clear. We could see to the bottom of it. We were able to see a lot of fish.
 Turkey Vultures. They liked to peel the tar and roof patches from the top of the observation building. They were fun to watch but boy are they ugly.

 Alligator in the water.

 We were the first ones at the top of the observation tower. We got to walk around and take some good pictures before everyone else got up to the top.
 The tower was a big ramp.

 See the depression in front of his back leg? That means he hasn't eaten and he is hungry.
 Can you see the bird in the picture above?
 Catching more sun and impressing the ladies at the same time.
 The largest Alligator we saw. 14 ft long and as you can see, a full belly.

 I took three pictures of him because he was impressive.

It was a lot of fun. We saw three turtles, around thirty alligators and 24 different species of birds. We also saw a wild boar on our drive home. I was scared he was going to ram into my car. 

I used my IPhone to keep a list of the birds we saw.
Ruby Crown Kinglet
Great White Egret
Blue Grey Gnat Catcher
Black Crown Night Heron
Little Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Cormorant
Turkey Vulture
Great Cat Bird
Red Wing Black Bird
Black Vulture
Wood Stork
Easter Phoebe
Great Cormorant
Great Heron
Palm Worbbler
American Anhinga
Tri colored Heron
Pie Vil Duck
Red Shoulder Hawk
King fisher
Double Crested Comerant
Mocking Bird