This week we took a day trip back to our favorite stopping points along the way to the Everglades....the Big Cypress Visitor's Center, (the manatees start to hang out there in the winter), the U.S. smallest post office in Ochopee, FL....a 7 X 8ft. building...It used to be an irrigation shed for a tomato farm. It is at milepost 72, on highway 41 and worth a stop. Get a pre stamped postcard from the smallest post office in the U.S.! Population of Ochopee is about 11 people or so....
We stopped at the HP Williams Wayside Park, another great place to talk to a ranger or naturalist and look for gators and birds....There was a BIG gator under the boardwalk, but Sparky is now sort of "meh" about gators, she sees them ALL the time in Sarasota and Bradenton....But they ARE bigger in the Everglades, she will say that! :-) We saw Florida gar and bowfin fish in the water...the gators didn't seem to care about the fish at all...guess they weren't hungry!
As we came out of HP Williams Wayside Park, we saw an alligator that had been hit by a car, mangled in the road, the first time we have ever seen alligator road kill here in FL. You'd think we see that more often, but guess there are plenty of fences around to prevent that from happening. Too bad they can't help keep the panthers fenced in down near the Everglades, because a record number of panthers continue to be hit by cars, increasing in numbers every year. There were 26 panthers killed by cars in 2015, and the last number we saw in the newspaper for 2016, was over 30. :-( They won't be around much longer if this keeps up!
One thing we were happy to see as well, at the different visitors' centers, was this.....
On to the Oasis Center in Big Cypress Preserve, between Miami and Naples, THE best place for viewing VERY large alligators, some as big as 12 feet! That one, the 12 footer, was not in the canal the day we went, but we did see some biggies....Sparky loves taking closeup photos from the boardwalk, where it's nice and safe to do so. The last time we were there, Sparky saw a young limpkin taking a nap in a tree, and a little green heron walking the swamp edge below the boardwalk..Today it was big gators snoozing, big soft shell turtles sunning, alligators swimming, just a beautiful day to be out and about...Temps in the low eighties by mid afternoon with a nice breeze....There's a ranger or naturalist here as well, to answer your questions
|Sparky, blog author|
Sparky and Eldo