Springtime in the Everglades - 2017

There were more surprises to come. One was a large and very busy raccoon who was hunting and digging on the shore of one of the many ponds. He sported a very unusual color too—almost a tawny light brown rather than more usual spackled gray. He was having no trouble catching his afternoon snack or perhaps it was an early supper. At any rate, we saw him continually pulling a morsel up from below and washing it off in the water before swallowing it down. Further along, we saw 4 juvenile raccoons working a different pond shore together. They were a more typical color than our lone fisherman. But they too were successful hunter-gatherers. Shyer than the big fellow, they would occasionally run behind taller shrubs to wait out the observers on the boardwalk. Banded Water Snakes were our next unexpected eyecatchers. There seemed to be three snakes all intertwined in what the docents said was a mating posture. But we were a bit taken aback by the threesome—a “ménage a trois” in the reptile world? They were so preoccupied with their own slithering, coiling and recoiling that we were able to observe them until we had taken photographs from every angle. All the expected water birds were seen in many ponds: egrets, heron, spoonbills and white ibis. But again, we were treated to an unexpected behavior from snowy egrets. They would fly over the surface of a pond, dipping with their beaks into the water. We had never seen that activity in spite of seeing many snowy egrets over the years and even entertaining them in our own Millers Creek flowing past our backyard. We were never sure if these birds were fishing or drinking, despite careful observations. Gray Squirrels were around us everywhere, even running alongside on the boardwalk railing, seeming pretty fearless. Brown and Green Anoles also abounded. Micki spotted a brown one tinged with red who had the longest tail we have ever seen on these species. Even the

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