Monday, March 5, 2012

On the Road to the Everglades.....

We've said our goodbyes to the Keys....and now, we're heading north...We've stopped in the Everglades for at least five days....10.00 a night with Eldy's Senior Pass at the Midway Campground.. And we need to be out of the Thousand Trails system for one week before going back into a membershp campground so this is great! Fifty amp electric, but no water, no sewer, no showers.....About 19 miles from Shark Valley and the Everglades National Park on Tamiami Trail, which is Highway 41. Midway Campground is in the middle of the Big Cypress Preserve. The only drawbacks? Not very many TV channels if you just have antenna. Our Verizon mi-fi card is VERY SLO-O-O-W here in the Everglades, so just a little internet capability, enough to keep us in touch with the rest of the world going by. Some day we're going to look into some kind of booster for the Verizon mi-fi, which we've heard that there is something out there that will help our signal in weak areas.

After getting settled in today, we decided to head over to the Oasis Center, just a couple of miles from the Midway Campground. We love the Oasis Center because of how close you can get to the gators from up above at a safe distance on the boardwalk overlooking the canal. The gators were out in full force---LOTS of them! BIG ones!

In the summertime, the gators are GONE! Where? We don't know, but volunteer Dave "Gator" Gates said they are only there in the winter. He told us a couple of new things about alligators we hadn't heard before....To protect the alligators, they started alligator ranching....That has been the single most effective way to keep the alligator population stable in Florida. Every alligator item manufactured today has to have a certification label on it that says it came from an alligator farm/ranch. That has practically ended alligator poaching and protected the alligator numbers. Alligators can be hunted in Florida, another practice that "culls the herd". But they CAN'T be hunted in Big Cypress Swamp or the Everglades.......

The cormorants and anhingas were catching fish and eating them....Always interesting to see how they maneuver the fish into their mouths. This one below appears to have had quite the struggle to get the fish. He worked it and worked it to get it in the right position for eating, then finally dragged it around in the pebbly sandy boulder he was sitting on, almost like he was breading the fish!
All coated with debris, NOW he eats it!
After the visit to the Oasis Center, we continued west to Ten Thousand Islands nature preserve in hopes of seeing some roseate spoonbills. We had seen them there last year by the hundreds and relatively close for getting a great they are from last year....

This year, we visited in spoonbills. Back again today, the last day of February, and there they were, but much farther away.....didn't get a decent photo today, but at least we have our photos from last year, up closer and more personal. Here's how far they were from us this year....Sparky needs a 400 zoom lens....(uh-oh....dream on, woman...You know how much those things cost????) Yeah....sigh!

We saw blue herons today, lots of them at the refuge, lots of egrets, ibis, a couple of alligators and a mother turtle and her little one....We saw some cool butterflies......
And here's one on it's last, last wing......this one looks like a moth of some kind.....
It's great to be back in the Everglades!  See you at Shark Valley tomorrow!


  1. Hi Jeannie. ..sounds like you guys are having a great time.

    We are also researching a booster for our cell signal. ..the guys at Wilson gave Dave the model # for the one they thought would be best for us. . .I'll get that info for ya if you want to check it out.


  2. We LOVE Shark Valley. Can't wait for you to take us there;o))

    Keep having fun so we can go with you!!

  3. Just installed the Wilson antenna ... stay tuned for a blog soon(ish) ... have to get the pictures processed in between all the project work at the office :-(

  4. Check a tele-converter (2X) to get more telephoto for less money. The converter goes on the camera and the lens mounts to it. You will probably need a bi-pod or tripod at the longer length and you may lose auto-focus.

    Thanks for the great blog and photos.


  5. Oh you're at Midway and you had no trouble getting a site. So what do you think about going there the LAST 10 days of March rather than the first? Too many bugs?

    I'll be watching your comments about the booster and the lens. Aren't RVers wonderful with all the information they share???

  6. Rex...we checked on the teleconverter, and we were told that we can't use it with the Nikon 3100. I'm not sure if that's true or not...but I'm now saving for a Tamron 27-300 lens. Anybody who has the Wilson booster, report in when you can! thank you! And thanks for the compliments, guys!

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