Saturday, August 13, 2011

0045: Everglades National Park - Florida

Everglades National Park, which protects over 1.5 million acres, is the 3rd largest national park in the lower 48 states, behind Yellowstone National Park (2nd) and Death Valley National Park (1st). It has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance, only one of three locations in the world to appear on all three lists.

Sailing in the Everglades this past Easter, it was a beautiful day/evening.
Dinner on the deck was amazing and the sunset was incredible.
Ok so maybe in my dreams but how cool is this shot?!?
It's funny how we can take for granted all the beauty that is around us. We tend to make our worlds so small. Maybe not on purpose but if we take the time to expand that world - it's incredible what we can find! 

I've lived in Florida most of my life and I think I've been to the Everglades twice! I will commit to going this year to take my own beautiful pictures and sharing them with you. Maybe in Nov/Dec - or when it cools a bit, right now it is SO hot and the mosquitoes and... But I will go, bets??

So back to this wonderful place - Around 15 federally threatened and endangered species reside within the boundaries of Everglades National Park. Florida panthers, sea turtles, crocodiles, and West Indian Manatees are but a few of these.
Florida Bay. Looks so peaceful... love this shot, the still water is amazing! Anyone up for skipping rocks?!? OK, so seriously... nearly all of Florida Bay is included in Everglades National Park. The southern edge, along the Florida Keys is in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. But don't let this tranquil picture fool you; the Florida Bay is considered the "waterspout capital of the world" as the area has as many as 500 waterspouts per year. They are most common from June to October, but can occur anytime of the year. 

Photo: National Park Service
Manatees - known as "sea cows" can be as big as 13 feet and weigh as much as 3,000 lbs. -
BUT they are herbivores so mainly eat sea grass and are very gentle. Their biggest risk includes injuries from boat propellers and garbage. Officially manatee season is Oct 30 - March 30 but they come down whenever it gets cold
. Check out Save The Manatee Club for more.
The Great Egret's wingspan can reach 65 - 85 inches. 
I really just put this one in because I thought it was a pretty picture :-)
Photo: Rodney Cammauf
Everglades may be famous due to its alligator population, but this is also the only place in the world where you can find both alligators and crocodiles. This is also the only place in the US where crocodiles (Crocodylus americanus) are found. So, is this a picture of an alligator or crocodile?? I think it's an alligator. This guy is smiling for the picture so it's hard to tell. How can you tell the difference? Well, you can't see an alligator's teeth when its mouth is closed and a crocodile's lower teeth are always visible. This guy seems to have a broad snout, which would be in line with an alligator's characteristics. Crocodiles have a thinner snout. Alligators tend to be grayish black whereas crocodiles have a light tan appearance... But MOST IMPORTANT, crocodiles have legendary tempers and some have been known to eat people!!!  
Gorgeous! Is that even an appropriate adjective for a panther??!! 
Florida Panthers are spotted at birth and typically have blue eyes. 
As the panther grows the spots fade and the coat becomes completely tan 
while the eyes typically become more of a yellow. Males can weigh up to 160 lbs. 
The Florida Panther was chosen as the state animal in 1982. It's estimated that 80-100 panthers live in Florida. Primary threats to the Florida panther's survival are loss and degradation of habitat. Check out Friends of the Florida Panther. Photo: Rodney Cammauf

No comments:

Post a Comment