Monday, February 23, 2015
Everglades Wildlife. Temperature 88F.
Everglades National Park is a U.S. National Park in Florida that protects the southern 20 percent of the original Everglades. In the United States, it is the largest tropical wilderness, the largest wilderness of any kind east of the Mississippi River, and is visited on average by one million people each year. It is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states after Death Valley and Yellowstone. Currently covering 1,506,539 acres the Everglades has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance, one of only three locations in the world to appear on all three lists.
Roseate Spoonbill. An uncommon wading bird of the southern coasts which uses its odd bill to strain small food items out of the water. A major period of decline for the spoonbill occurred in the early 1800s when the wings of this beautiful creature were made into fans.
American Alligator alongside a freshwater slough. Freshwater sloughs are perhaps the most common ecosystem associated with Everglades National Park. These drainage channels are characterized by low-lying areas covered in fresh water, flowing at an almost imperceptible 100 feet per day.. Sawgrass growing to a length of 6 feet (1.8 m) or more, and broad-leafed marsh plants, are so prominent in this region that they gave the Everglades its nickname "River of Grass". Alligators thrive in freshwater sloughs.
Red Shouldered Hawk. In Florida, the red-shouldered hawk is perhaps the most commonly seen and heard raptor species. Like almost all raptors, the red-shouldered hawk is monogamous and territorial. While courting or defending territories, the distinctive, screaming kee-aah call (usually repeated three to four times) of this bird is heard.
Peninsular Cooter. Over a dozen species of turtle are known to live in the Everglades as well as tortoises and terrapins.
North American Osprey. The Osprey is a large raptor, reaching as much as 2 feet in length with a 6-foot wingspan. Raptors hunt for food primarily on the wing by using their keen senses, especially vision, and kill prey with their talons. Ospreys have evolved specialized physical characteristics and behavior to assist in hunting and catching prey. The Osprey is the only raptor whose outer toe is reversible, allowing it to grasp its prey with two toes in front and two behind.
Wood Stork. As of June 26, 2014 the Wood Stork is classified as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. It is the only stork that presently breeds in North America. The adult is a large bird which stands 33–45 in. tall and has a 55–71 in. wing span.
Eastern Great Egret in breeding plumage. Measuring 33–41in. in length, the eastern great egret is a large heron with all-white plumage. Its bill is yellow in the breeding season and black at other times, and its long legs are red or black. The breeding plumage is also marked by long neck plumes and a green facial area.
Purple Gallinule. A beautifully colored bird of southern and tropical wetlands, the Purple Gallinule can be seen walking on top of floating vegetation or clambering through dense shrubs. Its extremely long toes help it walk on lily pads without sinking.