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.
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|
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?!?!
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 flying down|
|Pair of Eastern Bluebirds|
|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...