Saturday, December 17, 2011

Everglades National Park--Day one & two"

I was still fighting a very bad cold when I entered Everglades Park.  Some of the signs I saw gave me pause....

It did not take me long to realize that the vultures of the Everglades have no fear of humans.  They hang around the campsites waiting for a handout of a small rodent or a piece of pizza.  There is a very big fine if anyone is seen feeding any of the wildlife but a couple of careless campers provided a few unwilling meals anyway.  I kept Sigh Me out of sight.

They were totally unconcerned that I was standing in their midst.

I wish I could share the sounds at this pond--bass-bellowing frogs,  lovesick calling birds, softly humming insects and fish springing from the water.  It was nature's music at her finest.

Colorful butterflies were everywhere.
Morning glories cover every bush and tree and bloom in profusion from white to deep purple.  They are actually native to the Everglades (not an invasive species) and are so prolific that I can see why they are outlawed in Arizona.

This ranger gave a talk on alligators and American crocodiles and how to tell them apart.  Did you know that the only crocodiles in the US outside of a zoo are found in the very tip of the Florida Peninsula?  And one of the differences between the two--alligators look like they are smiling!   Crocodiles just look hungry.

This alligator was guarding a small bridge that I decided I really did not need to cross...

The ranger told me it was a very old female that did not have any teeth but I decided not to get close enough to see her head.

And this is an American crocodile--searching for his next meal.

An osprey on her nest--right in the marina.  Again, the wildlife is very unconcerned about humans being so close to them.  But they do have an enemy that is a threat to their survival here--Pythons!
The Burmese python and several other species have been introduced to the Everglades by careless humans (Do we need a leash law for pythons? If I had a pet python I don't think I would let him wander around willy nilly).  According to the ranger one good sized python can all but wipe out a rookery in a season--all the bird eggs, little mammals and a few bigger mammals.  Since I never saw a python wandering around the campground I asked the Ranger what kind  of problem they posed.  Her answer, "As many as 350 pythons per year are captured and removed from the park each year."  Yikes!   That is a lot of very big snakes!  

No comments:

Post a Comment