B and I have both lived in Florida all of our lives and had never been to Everglades National Park. We were so close that I felt like we just HAD to go when we were leaving the Keys.
I loved this sign we came to even before we were inside the park.
We stopped in the visitors’ center and then drove about half way down the dead-end road through the park before turning around. We stopped and walked the Anhinga Trail. There were large gars all in the front pool area.
This purple gallinule was showing off his beautiful feathers, beak and golden slippers.
We always knew that anhingas dive and swim and fish and stay underwater for longer than you are expecting them to. Here, we stood on the board walk and watched anhingas swimming in the clear water, stick their sharp beaks into small patches of vegetation and find some little fish.
We watched one wade out onto the bank with a much-too-large bream in his beak. As we watched, he slammed it down on a rock a couple of times and then with it suitably subdued, he commenced to rotating and flipping it so that it would go down his throat head first. That way the fins and scales are oriented to go down more smoothly and not get stuck. It was a fairly amazing little show he put on.
By far the most impressive show, though, was when this HUGE bull gator decided to see if he could call up some companionship. He lifted his head, and roared.
I guess I had heard a bull gator a couple of times in my life, but I did not remember how much it sounds like a lion. Once this guy had announced himself, another one nearby (that we never saw), decided it was important to do the same. And then another. And still another until we were convinced that we heard the calls from at least six different locations all around the boardwalk. We only saw the first one when it was calling. The others were hidden when they called, though we saw many gators on the walk. It was a something I doubt we will ever forget.