The most popular trail at Everglades National Park is the Anhinga Trail. It's an easy walk along a boardwalk around an open swamp area. The vistas are quite nice.
Of course, you never know what you're walking near…or over. It's wise to keep your eyes open…and camera at the ready.
This is an anhinga -- the trail's namesake. These are the birds that many times are seen with their wings spread out, drying, after plunging into the water for a meal. Since it was late spring when the SDP team visited, I suspect most of the migratory birds, like the pretty roseate spoonbills, had already left. So, we're already sharpening our pencils and planning a return trip in January or February.
Adjacent to the Anhinga Trail is the Gumbo Limbo Trail. This one goes through the woods around many gumbo limbo trees and others. We made a point to hit this trail after a particularly helpful National Parks volunteer randomly told me a barred owl nest is located there. He even marked it on a map -- without me asking. At the time, I thought it was bit odd. Why would the volunteer want to direct tourists to a nest? Well, once we saw the trail, I realized immediately it was so dense with foliage it would be nearly impossible to find an owl nest. And then…I heard it call! Again…and again. Then, it went silent. Darn! I've seen several barred owls here in Sarasota…but, I was on a mission to find this particular rascal. After walking around for a few minutes about ready to give up, amazingly, maybe 30 yards deep into the thick brush there he was….sitting in a tree watching me. He was tucked in so far it was difficult to get a clear shot. But, we were able to point him out to a couple visiting from Germany who we had met on the other trail -- and they were pretty excited. Success! The Everglades journey will continue...