Sunday in the Park

Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday in Everglades National Park’s Shark Valley: Arriving at 8:45 a.m. (Shark Valley doesn’t open until 8:30), we secured a spot along the canal to practice our bird photography. Black-crowned night-herons are said to be reclusive birds, nesting and in hidden colonies and fishing at night, but today, four night-herons – two juveniles and two adults – were in plain sight fishing from perches on the drainage canal that originally was built for oil exploration. That narrow canal is a favorite for wading birds and photographers with long lenses. A pair of red-shouldered hawks is nesting again this year in one of the tree cabbage palms at the juncture of the canal and the parking lot.  Snowy egrets, anhingas, little green herons, blue herons, great gray herons and alligators were present and accounted for. Some catfish met untimely ends, but the garfish are enormous.

Night Heron
Young Night Heron and Catfish

Snowy egret hunting

The bridge on Tamiami Trail that now allows water from the L-29 Canal and Water Conservation Area 3B to flow south into the park was completed last spring. Reports indicate that the recovery from decades of drought is well underway. It did this environmentalist’s heart good to drive across it. We may see a revitalized Everglades ecosystem in our lifetime – the Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.

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