Springtime in the Everglades - 2017

As we drove east towards the Resort, we became aware of an enormous black cloud which was clearly smoke and wondered where the fire was. The closer we drove, the bigger and taller the cloud climbed. When we reached the Tamiami Trail, we found the road closed just across it from the Resort. Traffic could not come across from the east or go any further from the west. We learned that the fire had been blazing and growing for at least 6-7 hours. Therefore, the workers on the day shift at the resort could not leave nor the evening and night crews arrive. All the restaurants, except the deli/café were closed due to lack of chefs and wait staff. So we had a hamburger with fries in the deli and tottered off the bed hoping for better tomorrow. The next day brought the news that the fire was now contained, the road was opened, and 6000 acres had burned. But we headed west again so we were not particularly concerned. Our second gravel road for exploring had fewer opportunities to observe wildlife of any kind but the photographers concentrated on insects, dragonflies and butterflies as well as wild flowers. So everyone was satisfied. The one interesting thing we saw was courting and mating behaviors occurring in a tree full of black vultures. None of us had ever had the chance to observe that behavior. We are now sure there will be a good crop of young black vultures in the coming weeks. PHOTOGRAPHER CLYDE BUTCHER’S GALLERY The following day, we drove west again towards Big Cypress Preserve and the Gulf Coast entrance to the Everglades. But we had one marvelous stop at Clyde Butcher’s Art Gallery. This now 73 year old photographer has made It his life’s work to photograph the Everglades and other sections of natural Florida. He uses an 8” x 10” large format view camera to create very large pictures, almost always in black and white. He has been doing this work for over

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