October 31, 2015 – Big Cypress National Preserve

If Joe and Linda were any nicer, we might just have stayed parked in their driveway for a month.  I didn’t want to leave, but knew I would feel that way every morning and might was well get along with it. So, we got underway about 1045. We went south in I-75 and then switched over to US 41 at Naples. Instead of saying Tamiami Trail, Helga the GPS kept saying “Tamiamitrami”.

I wanted to stop at the Big Cypress Visitor Center to look at the alligators and birds.  I was disappointed that we did not see any along the roadway as we have in the past.  I took a few pictures.

It was definitely alligator nap time. Not one of them moved a hair. This one opened its eye for a moment and then went back to sleep. There were not as many of them as we normally see, but I can’t come up with an explanation for that.

b Alligator Eye Open

b Alligator on Shore

Here is a better look at the foot.

b Alligator Foot

b Alligator

There is a very nice boardwalk overlook with chain link fencing at the bottom to keep the alligators from climbing up on the lawn and eating tourists.

b Andy Watching Alligator

This female anhinga was sitting in a tree drying and fluffing her feathers.  (The males have a black chest, neck, and head.) Anhingas swim underwater to catch fish, but then they must dry their feathers before they can fly.  They don’t have the oils like ducks and geese do.

b Anhinga Female in Tree

b Dragonfly

This Great Blue Heron was hunting on the far side of the water.  It did not seem too concerned about being close to the dozing alligator.

b Great Blue Heron Hunting

I thought this was a Little Blue Heron.

b Little Blue Heron in Tree

But, after I walked to one end of the boardwalk and back, this Tricolor Heron was standing in the same vicinity as the little blue.  I suspect it was the same bird, misidentified at first.

b Tricolor Heron on Branch

Of course I bought another book in the gift shop.

We got to Midway Campground at 1520 and had covered 140 miles. There were no camp hosts. There are 26 RV sites and were only seven RVs there for the night. It is a really developed campground for a national park.  There is even electricity, but no water or sewer hookups.  The dump station is near the exit.

b Sao in Everglades National Park

We took a walk and then sat next to the pond for a while.  We went inside before any mosquitoes could suck our blood.

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October 5, 2015 – Henderson Beach State Park, Destin, Florida

Since we have an annual park pass, we decided to check out Henderson Beach today.  It is just a few miles west of us.  I had tried to get a campsite there, but none were available. I like the campground here at Topsail Hill Preserve much better, but the beach access is much better at Henderson Beach.

A large parking area is right behind the dunes and there are several pavilions and toilet buildings along the beach. The first thing I noticed was the high rise buildings at the west end of the park.

b High Rise Buildings

The sand on the beach is very white and softer and finer than sugar.

b White Sugar Sand

We walked across the boardwalk with a couple from Indianapolis.  When I said the sand is finer than sugar, the man said it’s powdered sugar sand.

b Dark Clouds Over Water

Andy was concerned over the dark clouds.  They did look rather threatening, but we never got rained on.

b Dark Cloud Overhead

We walked to the east. I took a lot of pictures of this Sand Piper.  I didn’t notice the bubbles until I got the pictures on the computer.

b Sand Piper and Bubbles

I also did not notice this small wave about to break behind the Willit until I saw it on the computer screen.

b Willit

Here it is after the wave passed by.

b Shore Bird

We came across this mama and baby alligator on the beach.  There was not enough sunshine to highlight the texture the sand artist added to the back. That is the baby in the curl of Mama’s tail.

b Sand Alligator on Beach

The clouds were getting darker, so we turned about and headed back.  The couple from Indianapolis walked back with us.  They were on a motorcycle and did not want to be caught in the rain.

b Dark Clouds White Sand

I thought this was an observatory, but Andy learned from a park brochure that it is “a closed military mission electronic tracking and monitoring facility owned and operated by the U.S. Air Force at Eglin Air Force Base”.
b Observatory