The Little Blue Heron

Continuing to get to know my Florida wildlife a little better today with my friend here. When I was first told he was a little blue Heron, I thought they meant a baby Heron. Alas, that was the proper name. Little Blue Heron Everglades You will find Little Blue Herons in the shallows of marine and freshwater marshes. I found this friend above wading in the everglades. Notice the slate blue plumage and the long neck and legs.
20140302-082510.jpgThis little guy was on the banks of the Saint Lucie River in Stuart, Florida. He looked like a Heron, but where was his long neck? He was simply just sitting with his neck tucked in. I didn’t realize they could do that. I clearly have not been paying that much attention to my featured friends. At first I thought this was a different species of bird. I’m learning! I didn’t realize Herons could change their appearance so drastically. Now that I do know, I think that’s pretty impressive, giraffes certainly can’t do that.

Herons are an unusual looking bird, yet a common sight around Florida waterways. However, there were twice as many of these beautiful birds 40 years ago. Their population is in decline due to loss of feeding habitat.

This is another bird that I wasn’t exactly sure what he was. As I noted in the purple gallinule post, I decided to get to know the subjects of some of my photos better and to keep track of new birds I encounter.

The Little Blue Heron gets marked off my Checklist of Florida Birds.

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The Purple Gallinule

Bird Purple GallinuleCame across this fellow in the everglades. He’s a Purple Gallinule. It may sound like I knew his name upon sighting, but I really had no clue what he was, which is why I decided to write about him. I often take photos of creatures and places I know little about, but those photos inspire me to get to know my world a little better. So, here’s a little bit of info that I learned about this bird.

The Purple Gallinule is otherwise known as a Swamp Hen or known locally as a Yellow Legged Gallinule.

Purple Gallinules are members of the Rail family and found in tropical wetlands. Their long toes help them navigate the lily pads in their wetland environments.

I also found this great Checklist of Florida Birds while researching this water bird and decided to see how many I can spot.

Port St Lucie, the town I live in, is actually a bird sanctuary. So, there you go, great place for amateur birding to begin.

Everglades Holiday Park

Day with the Gator Girl!Airboating the Everglades should be on everyone’s bucket list, and who doesn’t want to see some live Gator wrestling? You can do both at Everglades Holiday Park in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Yes, this is home base to the “Gator Boys” show as seen on Animal Planet. We were happy to see a few familiar faces from the show on our trip.

Tre was our airboat driver, Scott was hanging out, and Ashley the great gator girl, performed the gator wrestling show and we got to take a picture with her! On our 2nd trip, we got to see Mike who also performs a great show.

We had to wait in line to purchase our tickets for the Airboat Ride. It’s a popular place! Cost was about $24 for adults and $13 for kids. (You can print out a coupon online for $3 off adults and $2 for kids. We did : ) Then we pulled out our cooler and staked claim at a picnic table out front as we waited a bit for our turn on the airboats. We had an audience…a couple peacocks joined us for lunch as well as more than a few other hungry birds.

We waited about 15 minutes for our number to be called and walked across the parking lot to the dock. These airboats seat about 25 people. The boat has four benches with backrests and is covered and has open sides. The ride was breezy and beautiful even in mid August and the views had us breathless. In November, it was a bit chilly but just as beautiful.

After the airboat ride comes the gator wrestling show…rain or shine! And by this time, it was pouring rain but Ashley didn’t let that stop her!

Even though it ended with rain, a day at Everglades Holiday Park was most definitely, a day well spent!

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Mike Easter Gator Boy

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We have been back many times and Tre is still our favorite driver.

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