Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Anhinga Trail, Part I

After two nights we bade farewell to Homestead and headed for the Keys, with a short detour planned along the way to take in TripAdvisor's top-rated attraction in Everglades National Park -- the Anhinga Trail.

Hiking's not my family's favorite thing.  They agree to do it on occasion because they love me.  I figured at just 8/10 of a mile this would be a nice compromise and a good stretch of the legs for everyone, and if we were lucky we might see some animals.  Boy, did I underestimate this trail!

Double-crested Cormorant
Disney themselves couldn't have placed the wildlife any more abundantly or conveniently.  Double-crested Cormorants were sitting right on the fence along the start of the trail, as if protesting its name.

"Ask not for whom the Cormorant squawks.  It squawks for thee, not me."

Birds drying their wings always look majestic and impressive to me.  This female Anhinga was no exception.

Right below the sun-worshipping Anhinga, a Tricolored Heron stood casually in the shallow water of the slough.  It wasn't enough just to have wildlife everywhere you looked.  You often got multiple species in a single view.  Truly an embarrassment of riches.

Yes, there were also alligators.  Lots of alligators.  Big alligators and little alligators.  From one observation deck we counted a dozen.  It got to the point where you couldn't even appreciate them any more.

I believe this guy is a Green Heron, but all the others we saw were perched much more parallel to the ground and not as upright as this one.

Plenty of Great Egrets, too.

The Yellow Pond Lilies had the thickest petals I'd ever seen.

A Great Blue Heron stood at attention, alert for what I wasn't really sure.  It was amazing to see a bird that seems so at home here in Colorado appear equally so in a completely different environment.

Click here for Part II.

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