Sunday, May 1, 2011

Continuation of our Excursion to the Everglades

Our treks to Anhinga Trail proved to be a great spot for seeing some old favorites and a couple of winter and spring visitors. Nick and I also took to a number of other smaller trails along the main road to see what we could see. But by late morning/ early afternoon, birds were scarce. 

We did happen upon a few good birds, such as Gray Kingbird and a White-Eyed Vireo. But the real treat came when we happened upon a Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake in the road. We had avoided some of the  dangers of the Everglades: the gators and the panthers. And here we were about to encounter another potential danger.

Panther Crossing

There was a group of three people standing by the snake. A woman in the group worked in the area and I believe she was leading a tour for the other 2 people. She had pointed out that the snake was dying as it was partially run over by a car. She advised that she wish she could put it out of its misery, but the law indicates one can't do such a thing.

Diamondback Rattlesnake just run over

Diamondback Rattlesnake in its final moments
This was an incredible opportunity to get a close look at a snake I would otherwise run far away from. You could see the tail was pretty mangled. The snake lay with her mouth agape, showing her deadly fangs. The woman from earlier advised to keep a safe enough distance even though she was dying since she could get one last spurt of energy and strike. We definitely kept our distance, and I let my long camera lens do the up-close work. When would we ever get to look at a rattlesnake this close again without being in serious danger?!?!

Diamondback Rattlesnake

We decided to head back to the camp to get some much needed rest after a full morning of birding as the Florida sun was kicking into full gear. Just as we pulled back into the campsite, ready to take a break, the birds kept us going just a wee bit longer. We came across a pair of Eastern Bluebirds! This was a state first for us. The male Bluebird called and sang as the female flew from tree to tree, which he shortly followed. We were very excited to see such a wonderful springtime bird right in the Everglades!

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird flying down

Pair of Eastern Bluebirds

After following the bluebirds along, we thought, Ok, NOW it's time to get some rest. Well, once again, the birds showed us otherwise. We were headed back to the car when Nick yelled out "Northern Bobwhites!" At first, I didn't even think Nick could be right. I had no idea that there were Bobwhites in South Florida, and surely not the Everglades. But sure enough, there were two male-female pairs of Northern Bobwhites scurrying along the empty road within the campsite. The pairs ran from grassy patch to grassy patch, and very quickly, I might add. They were calling out to each other in their cute quail-y voices.

Four Northern Bobwhites scurrying along

A Lovely Male Northern Bobwhite

One pair stayed in a brushy area as another pair dashed and foraged. I had a heck of a time trying to catch up to get shots of these gorgeous birds, but I did manage to take a few. Nick and I then learned that the Florida race of Northern Bobwhites have black eyestripes rather than reddish-brownish. These birds are incredibly striking with their gorgeous plumage.

Pair of Northern Bobwhites (Left Female, Right Male)

A nice look at the plumage of a male Northern Bobwhite

As the Bobwhites disappeared into the brush, Nick and I finally got some rest. But we were back in action to hit up another trail by the campsite in no time for the late afternoon. More from that trip to come...


  1. Wow, great pictures again. Snakes are so fascinating (from a distance)!

  2. Eeesh, the snake pictures are a bummer, no offense...considering the thousands of animals that meet their demise on that Everglades road every year, there is no way anyone would hold it against you to put a snake out of its misery. That said, a Panther would be something different.