Saturday, January 31, 2009

Everglades National Park

I want to share my trip to Everglades National Park that I took with Vinny, my hubby, my BIL, Carl, and Grace, my SIL when we were in Florida this week.




Everglades National Park (Shark River Valley)

The Everglades are a subtropical wetland located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Florida, comprising the southern half of a large watershed. The system begins near Orlando with the Kissimmee River, which discharges into the vast but shallow Lake Okeechobee. Water leaving the lake in the wet season forms a slow-moving river 60 miles (97 km) wide and over 100 miles (160 km) long, flowing southward across a limestone shelf to Florida Bay at the southern end of the state. The Everglades are shaped by water and fire, experiencing frequent flooding in the wet season and drought in the dry season.

The Everglades is made up of sawgrass prairie, sloughs (free-flowing channels of water) tree islands and cypress swamps above a limestone base.

The Everglades are dying. The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was signed into law in December 2008 but restoration hasn't begun because of the divisive politics of the region.

We visited during the dry season (winter) when temperatures are temperate and mosquitoes are at a minimum. We were able to get pretty close to the alligators which were usually found basking in the sun on the edge of sloughs. We were warned to stay at least 10 feet away and more if it was a female with babies.

There are panthers in the park and manatees and dolphins but we weren't lucky enough to see any. There are pythons too but the Everglades is not their natural habitat. People who had pythons as pets let them loose in the park and now they have become a nuisance. There is a program in place to eliminate them.



Sylvia K said...

Fabulous pictures!! Felt as though I was right there. Thanks so much for sharing, Mary! Hope you had a great time, it surely looks as if you did.

Carletta said...

Welcome Back Mary!
These photos are gorgeous!
However, my zoom lenses would have been as close as I would feel comfortable being to that alligator. :)

Queen-Size funny bone said...

I love that second photo, he looks scary.

Anonymous said...

Did you see any anhinga birds? They're the ones that stand and open their wings to let the sun dry their feathers. Any pink spoonbills?

Snowbird said...

I love Shark Valley. Another great drive is the Loop Road which starts at Monroe Station. I've never seen so many gators and crocs so up close and personal!

Mags said...

Wait-you WALKED in the park?? Yowzers. I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to do that. I hated walking in my back YARD when I lived in Kissimmee/Orlando-there were gators in them there lakes!! :)

Fantastic pictures though-really, really great.

Akelamalu said...

You were brave walking about weren't you? Love the photos Teach!

Gattina said...

What an elegant bird ! and I never thought I would find a crocodile cute, but this one has friendly eyes !

SandyCarlson said...

Gorgeous, Mary! Only you could get that big bumpy guy to smile so handsomely for the camera.

MyMaracas said...

Wow, great photos! I'd love to see the Everglades, but you can keep the gators.

Mojo said...

Magnificent photos! I especially love the egret(?) and the 'gator... (actually I featured a gator myself this week... Tuesday I think it was).

Glad to see you back safe and happy to hear you had a good trip!

Felisol said...

Dear teach Mary,
welcome home from the Everglades.
Wonderful pictures you brought back to share with us Northerners.

One of my favorite authors, Carl Hiaasen, (Norwegian ancestors) writes quite burlesque crime novels from the Glades.
With your pictures and his words, I feel quite at home there. I guess I wouldn't like meeting the alligators though.
From Felisol

Mo said...

Great pictures - lovely encounters with wild life!
Glad you had a fabulous vacation!

Anonymous said...

Lovely animal photos.


Desert Songbird said...

Ah, yes, the Glades. When they ignite with fire, the entire southern part of FL reeks with the odor.