Two days before we picked up Sam we did a little birding. We started off at a place reported to have a Buff-bellied Hummingbird, a Rufous Hummingbird and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. We went there and found all three! We met a couple of people there, one who told us where to find a bunch of different new birds and the other who decided to join us. The directions were confusing and we never really found what we expected but at one spot we did find Mitred Parakeets which were lifers for us. We tried the right part of Matheson Park again where the last time, we found out, we were in the wrong place. There are supposed to be lots of parrots there and we didn’t find a single one. We did find some other things though.
There was a place of reputed great birding in Ft. Lauderdale where we had to go to the airport to pick up Sam at 5:20 pm so we thought we’d go there that morning but the next day it rained all day and it was raining the morning we picked him up so we didn’t go. We just got him and took him to dinner on the way back to the campground. He was tired out from the flight anyway.
The next day we took him to the Everglades. We started out at the Anhinga trail where the young Anhingas had gotten a lot bigger since the last time we saw them. We also saw some new chicks
and lots gators, (45 in one spot),
and a few Purple Gallinules.
There were other birds,fish, epiphytes and turtles, too.
Then we went down to Flamingo and got good looks of the Crocodiles. One swam right next to the dock we were on and Sam got his picture. Saw a few more things like gulls, lizards and Florida Bay.
Sam had asked to fish so we borrowed some equipment from another camper and went to Biscayne Bay NP. We had hoped to take the boat ride to Boca Chica Key but they were full so we reserved a spot for Sunday instead. Sam fished for a while not catching anything but it was a nice day and when we walked to the end of the jetty our friend the Great White Heron was there. Couldn’t resist lots of pictures of him.
On Saturday we went to John Pennekamp SP on the Keys where Sam could fish some more.
It was quite hot and being a Saturday was very crowded. There was a swimming beach with lots of people near where Sam was fishing and as we got there a Manatee poked his head up right near the swimmers. He came up several times right near people which surprised us.
Some people got very excited and others didn’t seem to care. That struck us as weird but maybe they see them all the time. We thought it was pretty cool.
On Sunday we went back to Biscayne Bay for our 3 hour boat ride to Boca Chica Key. As we came into the Key we got good looks at a very large Green Sea Turtle. Once again a beautiful day and lots of people and boats. We had an hour on the key and could walk a nature trail and go up into the lighthouse and have a picnic lunch. Nice day.
On Sam’s last day we went to Shark Valley which is another area of the Everglades with a 15 mile loop road.
At about the half way point there is a big tower overlooking a bird roosting area and an alligator area. The last time we went there when you climbed up to the top of the tower you looked down on about 50 gators lying together. All along the trail there are birds and gators and turtles. There is a tram tour every hour and a bike rental if you’d like to do that instead. We arrived about 5 minutes after the tram tour started so we opted for the bikes. A big mistake! It was about 86 degrees, quite humid, and not much in the way of shade on the trail. We also were pedaling against the wind the whole way to the tower and the bikes were horrible! Denny and I’ve never been so uncomfortable on a bike. And, when we got to the tower there wasn’t really much to look at—a few birds and a few alligators. By the time we got back we were all exhausted and dripping sweat.
We feel bad that we put Sam through that on his last day here. Hope he remembers the good parts of the trip more.
March 1st we wheeled out of the Boardwalk RV Resort west to Collier Seminole SP for a couple of nights. We are slowly working out way back home. We drove along the Tamiami Trail which is always interesting with its slough next to the road with lots of birds and gators in it. There are several stops along the way at Big Cypress Swamp with boardwalks to view the wildlife. The park is right next to Naples, FL where had dinner with old friends Jerry and Barbara who we hadn’t seen in about 45 years. Nice catching up on all our lives.
We probably won’t have time for another blog until we get home. Lots more pictures then.