Springtime in the Everglades - 2017

slot machines and drinking and smoking more than they should. But we spent no time in the casino, preferring to be out and about in the natural world. We did two all-day drives on gravel roads out of the Oasis Visitor Center: one was called the Scenic Trail and was at least 20 miles long ending in a short loop that took us back to the Scenic Trail and the other was called the Burdon Road Trail. Both were very short on mammals—we saw only one doe of the Virginia White Tail species and several healthy looking gray squirrels. But we did see many birds, even some song birds which we had not seen in the Keys. Some we could identify and others not. Among the best sightings were s Swallow-Tail Kite and several Red-Shouldered Hawks of varying ages. The road was pretty straight and we did see many scenes that are typical of the Everglades—low grasses, palmettos, and palms. We also drove through many burned areas which we were never sure whether they represented controlled burns or lightning strike-caused fires. We took a couple of short hikes into the bush, but none was very productive of anything except mosquitos. It seemed odd that the mosquitos were here since everything seemed so very dry—all the bushes appeared to be drooping, the grasses were brown and sere. Our very last stop on this road before returning the Miccosukee Resort was the very best. On both sides of the road were small watery areas and we saw so many different birds that we were in awe. The sun was beginning its descent into night and the lighting was beautiful. Sunset too was quite colorful. We saw Wood Storks, Great Blue Herons, Common Egrets, Tri-colored Herons, Little Blue Herons, Cattle Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Turkey & Black Vultures, a Green Heron, Black-crowned Night Herons, and Anhinga—all in this one spot. Everyone agreed that this was the highlight of the day.

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