Anhinga in Florida 2009

Anhinga in Florida 2009

That November I drove south from Boston area to Florida’s national parks and refuges. En route stopovers included Appomattox VA, Wilmington NC, a cypress swamp boardwalk near Charleston SC, Edisto Beach, and the ACE Hollings NWR. Once in Florida I toured A1A along the Atlantic side: Fort Clinch SP, St. Augustine Alligator Farm, Kennedy Space Center (Atlantis on the pad), Merritt Is. NWR, Canaveral Nat’l. Seashore swim, Sebastian Inlet/Pelican Is. NWR, posh Vero Beach homes and on into Homestead, my base. Once there I got to the Miami Metro Zoo for my first flamingoes! The afternoon drive out on SW 328th to the marina at Biscayne was one of the trip’s gratifying sights-deep indigo water surrounded by mangroves and palms, complete with distant Miami skyline and roosting white ibis flocks! Found 8 myna birds in Homestead. Following days, I drove through Everglades (1 nt.) and Big Cypress. Also got to Key Largo in the John Pennekamp SP. Birding highlights: numerous anhingas, wood storks, roseate spoonbills, egrets, black skimmers, white pelicans, limpkins, green heron, palm warblers, avocets, Muscovy ducks, pied-billed grebes, common moorhen, white-rumped sandpipers, a yellow-throated vireo and much more… While on Florida Bay tropical storm Ida threatened on the Gulf side, so I started north for Gainesville. Ida’s rain caught me in Georgia as I meandered up toward Athens and into Anderson SC along I-85. Over the mountains at Brevard NC, through Asheville to I-81 I completed my first-ever Florida visit. Interesting habitat and November climate, but it’s not the West-too much aggressive driving and cluttered urban clamor/development. Perhaps I’ll do the Keys sometime or just “veg” in one beach location. Like in Texas, the alligators and snakes are dangerous and should never be approached! The canals with tall grass hide these adversaries! Yes, the birds are outstanding.

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