Tag Archives: wildlife

Hiking in Florida’s natural areas during the dry season

It was a long hot summer but hiking weather is finally here

Hiking season is finally here. It was a long hot summer with record breaking temperatures. We also had to scramble and prepare for a late season storm in October. We were lucky that hurricane Matthew turned north over the Gulfstream instead of landing on our shore. Cooler drier weather has moved in and hopefully will remain until late in the Spring season.  The lower humidity, cooler temperatures, and higher winds will keep the mosquitos and other biting insects under control.  These are ideal conditions for exploring some of our nature preserves and going out on hikes. In spite of receiving no rain for over a month now, water levels remain high in some areas so I will have to return later to explore these trails.

The annual bird migrations are under way

Migratory birds are arriving every day. These birds as well as other local residents are putting up quite a show. The images below were captured during a few hours late one afternoon. The location is considered part of the Northeast Everglades Natural Area. The best areas are always surrounded by water. Some of the species you can expect to see include the Anhinga, Limpkin, and Ibis. I have found a few Red Belly Woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus) but they have avoided stepping under the good light so I could photograph them. Always assume there are alligators in these canals and lagoons. Look carefully along the shoreline of any body of water. Do not get too close. Gators can be faster than you think when crawling on dry land.

 

red belly woodpecker melanerpes carolinus hiking Florida

Red belly woodpeckers (Melanerpes carolinus) are notorious for never facing the good light

 

observation deck sunset watch hiking Florida

This observation deck is a great location for watching sunsets. I will have to return on a good stormy day with dramatic skies.

 

american white ibis black wing tips hiking Florida

Black wing tips on an Ibis (Eudocimus albus) are only seen while flying

 

greater yellowlegs hiking Florida

This greater yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) was digging for food in a shallow lagoon

 

loop trail sign hiking Florida

The water level was still high so I will return later in the Winter to explore.

 

american white ibis hiking Florida

Birds were becoming more active as the sun was setting

 

Anhinga anhinga hiking Florida

I was able to get very close to this Anhinga

 

alligator Florida hiking

Gators are always watching you