The area named Everglades National Park of the Everglades wetland landmass situated towards the south of Florida is different to the Big Cypress National Park which is situated more centrally in the glades. It’s a total preservation unlike the Big Cypress while no ownership of property is entertained and the only overnight stayers are the recreational campers.
The flora is of a secondary nature and the water bodies are more stagnant being the immediate area draining to the gulf of Mexico. The land is more of open expanses allowing much bird life to be seen.
|The water bodies are more stagnant|
|The water bodies here are more in the open attracting sunlight allowing water-lilies to grow.|
|Sunlight contribute to much flowering foliage|
|Secondary growth after having harvested the rich timbers.|
This is a much visited location and the immense bird life and the alligators are accustomed to the visitor and could be approached to almost touching distance……this said, it is better to keep to a distance with the gators unlike with the bird life.
The vulture population both the black and the turkey head are found in abundance as a result of the larger visitor numbers; the food in the picnic areas attracts them to these localities .
The facilities for the visitor is more in this part of the glades and the board walks that take you on the Anhinga Nature Trail above the marsh is unique. Thus named for the abundance of the Anhinga; a water bird with a snaky neck that frequent the water body above which the boardwalks take you as close as touching distance to them.
|Board-walks ...part timber and part fiber made to look like timber|
|Soft-shelled Turtle feeding on pumpkin ..It was Halloween time and pumpkin was seen everywhere|
|The Great Blue Heron was at touching distance three feet away from the board walk. It was seen in the same location when returning after one and a half hours walking. Visitors respect the habitat and the fauna........ thus is the healthy coexistence|
|Not disturbed.....it's not disturbed|
|The Great Egret on the Opposite Bank|
|Anhinga fishing before night fall. The Anhinga sinks bodily when it swims leaving the snaky neck and head above water|
|Details of the Great Blue Heron|
|The Tri-Coloured Heron dancing to attract fish.......?|
The Alligator and the Crocodile of the Everglades was once hunted to almost extinction. The timely intervention of the authorities have brought back the Gator numbers to satisfactory levels though the Crocodile needs more time to be stable.
|Alligators are now stable|
|Basking gators a common sight in the glades....note the bulky cheeks of the gator that facilitate a large mouth cavity for larger prey|
|The inner hind palm of the gator|
Two visits to the Everglades National Park was made with Hemamala, Naveen, Bhagya and our newcomer Mevan, our first grandson with the intention of camping that was never possible this time. with the marauding mosquitos that swarm into the car no sooner the door is opened. Alighting a vehicle is possible only against the wind when the swarm is blown away. However this phenomena dies away with the winter winds from the Gulf of Mexico setting in. bringing the favourable season for camping.
|This tree is a special.....|
|Intended to camp but thought otherwise due to the swarms of mosquitoes|
|Many visit the Anhinga trail on the boards for leisure|
|The beautiful back feather pattern of the Anhinga|
|Anhinga gather across the water to roost for the night|
|The take-off of the Anhinga.|
The southern most part of the Everglades locates the large expanse named the Flamingo Campsite; over looking the sea and much is the bird life around the jetties and camping ground.
Our urge to camp needed other favourable country. This was fulfilled with a trip to the Smoky Mountains in the Appalachian Range.
|The Black Vulture|
|The Turkey Vulture|
Both Black and Turkey vulture species are the avian scavengers of the Everglades; natures way to keep a healthy habitat. The Turkey Vulture is more efficient in locating prey by smell. Once located the Black Vulture takes advantage,.... for it being a more aggressive bird, would chase away the Turkey Vulture and take possession of the prey.
|Of the 350+ birds located in the Everglades over 200 are migrants.|
|Ducks, Moorhens and Teal are visiting migrants in the Everglades|
|The Osprey which is a rare migrant to Sri Lanka is abundant at the Flamingo campsite.|
|Turkey Vulture pestering the Osprey to abandon its prey.|
|The White Ibis is in control of the Flamingo campsite in the off-season|
|Startled ....the Ibis take flight..only to settle in a different location. The grass is yet to be mowed for the campers, until then the insects in the tall grass is food for the Ibis.|
|Red-shouldered Kite taken possession of a Barbecue grill -box in the absence of campers|
|This Laughing Gull will have plenty food with the camping season arriving soon.|
The Everglades that was to be drained out for development is now to be put back to its original status that was to be before the year 1882. Whether this is a possibility is only a wait and see. Nevertheless it could be now said the glades will not be exploited for further development being named as three world sites. It’s an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance. Much is the focus of the world community towards the Everglades. Likewise much are the eyes focused on you when in the Everglades; the fauna that got a new lease of life is watching you in hiding…with thanksgiving.