Everglades Part One

Apr 15, 2007 by Janine
Last week was pretty stressful so I went to Everglades National Park yesterday to unwind. It was beautiful. Now I said that it wasn't going to be a "photography trip" and it was strictly for relaxation purposes, yet I said this as I packed up pretty much every piece of camera gear that I own. So off I went, and to prove that it was not a photo trip I skipped the Anhinga trail (renowned by photographers the world over as the place for wading bird pics) and instead stopped at Pa-hay-okee, where I knew there would be no wildlife. To ensure this, I carried the D70 with the landscape lens (18-70mm) over one shoulder and the D200 with wildlife lens (50-500mm) over the other. To help me relax.

See, no wildlife here

Next stop Flamingo. Flamingo is the end of the road, 38 miles southwest of the main visitor center.
I checked the marina for crocodiles and only spotted one, skulking in the mangroves. So I was walking along the docks, minding my own business, when I hear a huge racket and an osprey comes flying in with a decapitated fish. The noise was coming from a hungry fledgling waiting on the ground near the fish cleaning station (aptly enough). The ruckus attracted a hungry Great Blue Heron who is featured in my photo below.

Law abiding birds, they read the sign.

So the parent drops the fish and the fledgling grabs it and flies off with it- directly toward me! I'm snapping away and duck out of the way at the last minute as it whizzes by and into the trees behind me. It goes without saying that none of these pictures will be in focus. Then, as I'm watching the adult ospreys soaring overhead and next thing I know I hear the frenzied calls of the young osprey again, right behind me! I barely managed to drop to a crouch in time as I felt the whoosh of its wingbeats over my shoulder and smelled the perfume of bloody dead fish. The men at the boat launch and fish cleaning station erupted into laughter at this. Finally the fledgling alighted in a tree and started to eat its meal.
Tasty dinner

To be continued...

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