A Quick Walk in the Everglades

29 February 2009

Local Map

Photographs and Commentary
Click on picture to enlarge

On a trip to South Florida to visit friends, we took a morning ride to Shark Valley, part of Everglades National Park. Shark Valley is located off the Tamiami Trail, 25 miles west of Miami. Because of time constraints, we only walked a short segment of the loop trail. In that short distance we encountered numerous examples of the wildlife of the Everglades. The main loop trail (see map above) is several miles long and we only walked a quarter of a mile before returning to the parking lot. Given the time, we would have walked the loop trail or, most likely taken the guided tour on the trams that run on the loop. Another option is to rent a bike and ride the loop.

There is nothing to separate you from the wildlife on this trail. At one point, we walked within a few feet of a good size alligator sunning on the grass adjacent to trail. It seems that the wildlife is somewhat habituated to the human traffic on the trail because the birds and alligators did not move unless we came too close. We had no intention of getting to close to the alligators. If we return to the Everglades National Park, and we would like to, we will take more time to experience the wildlife.

The Anhinga

One of the most fascinating birds in the Everglades is the Anhinga. The Anhinga is known as the Water-Turkey for its swimming habits and broad tail, and also as the Snake-Bird for its habit of swimming with just its long head and neck sticking out of the water.


Anhinga fishing

The Anhinga swims with only its head and neck visible above the water. When fishing, it swims completely underwater.

Anhinga Eating

This Anhinga just caught a fish, flipped it in the air and swallowed it whole. My reflexes were not fast enough to get the fish in the air. However, you can see the swollen part of the neck, just back of the mouth where the fish is working its way down.

Anhinga drying

After fishing, the Anhinga "hangs out" to dry

As the Anhinga dries, it preens its feathers


Alligator swimming


Alligator sunning

This alligator was getting some sun off the edge of the loop trail... his tail was on the edge of the trail. It was so close that I had to back away in order to get it to fit in the picture.

Alligator close up

You can bet that this was shot with a telephoto. This alligator (above, right) was about five to six feet in length and was quite alert to us. I was not going to give it a chance to consider me for lunch.

Turtles and gator

A group of turtles getting some sun with an alligator laying in the background

Miscellaneous Birds
Great Blue Heron

Great Blue heron close up


Great Blue Heron
(Above and left)



Black Crowned Night Heron

Black Crowned Night Heron

Tri Color heron

This Tri Color Heron was so focused on his fishing that he didn't notice the Little Blue Heron coming at him.

Little Blue Heron

Little Blue Heron in the fishing spot formerly occupied by the Tri Color Heron

Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule hunting frogs

White Ibis

White Ibis