Creatures of the Everglades

“There are no other Everglades in the world. “ -Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Over the last two weeks, I have been able to explore the Everglades on the job and on my own time. My travels include venturing from the Ernest F. Coe center, way out to Shark Valley and Gulf Coast, as well as exploring Big Cypress National Preserve and Biscayne National Park. It has been an amazing adventure so far. What has been even better is the amount of wildlife that is active even during the more “dormant” summer months. South Florida National Parks are considered to be winter parks since migratory birds roam through in the fall and spend summers back home. Alligators are spread out across the marsh and are hard to spot during this wet season. Regardless, there are great sightings at every turn of the Everglades. The Everglades is the only environment of its kind and because of this, there are tons of endemic and rare species that I have had the pleasure to sight on a daily basis. I would like to take this post to honor the willing critters who allowed me to take their beautiful portraits.

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

The anhinga is one of the most common birds you’ll find in the Everglades. Even the main trail is named after it, Anhinga Trail off of Royal Palm Visitor Center. This funky looking lady is a female anhinga. Male anhinga are fully black while their female counterparts have a distinct brown necks. These aquatic birds use their beaks as spear to hunt fish. Their feathers contain little oils which make them less buoyant and even better swimmers. In this video, you can see how this native bird feels more comfortable in the water than in the sky.

Saunders’s Bagworm Moth (Metura elongatus)

If you walk by too fast, you are surely to miss him. This insect has one of the most interesting adaptations I have ever seen.

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