Everglades National Park

Shortly after Christmas, Jim very kindly arranged a flatboat guide to take Peter and me bird watching in the Everglades National Park while he, Maggie, James and Kiera went fishing, also in flatboats. We launched at sunrise from the beautiful Plantation Yacht Harbor (see here for a picture of the harbour) in Islamorada, after spending the night in nearby Key Largo. Before we set off across  Florida Bay, we cruised past some of the luxury waterfront homes, one of which is on the market for $15m – quite a place. We spent the rest of the day pottering around mangrove islands and sandbanks where waterbirds congregate. Florida Bay is the largest body of water within the Everglades Park; it extends from the mangrove swamps of the mainland’s southern tip to the Florida Keys and covers over 2,100 km²of marine ecosystem. It was an incredible experience to boat around this area of the National Park and to have a guide, who knows it like the back of his hand, interpreting it for us; what a privilege. Drew, our guide, is also a fisherman and he couldn’t resist casting in before we returned home. He gave me the rod and I had fun (despite my aversion to seeing hooks in fish’s mouths) catching a few mangrove snappers and a yellowtail.

early morning start

early morning start at Plantation Yacht Harbor

Pelicans on the move:

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bald eagle

bald eagle

flock of about 1000 cormorants

flock of about 1000 cormorants

clockwise, from top left: osprey protecting nest, kingfisher, snowy egret, manatee drinking fresh water from a hose

clockwise, from top left: osprey protecting nest, kingfisher, snowy egret, manatee drinking fresh water from a hose

birds on sandbank

birds on sandbank

ready, steady, go: cooling off in a canal at the back of the house in Key Largo

ready, steady, go: cooling off in a canal at the house in Key Largo

guide Drew with my yellowtail

guide Drew with my yellowtail

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