Florida Everglades – Anhinga Trail


On January 19th I had the opportunity to join some friends who make it an annual event to get together to  visit and explore Everglades National Park. The maps inserted below show our basic travels that day starting from the Royal Palm Visitor Center and The Anhinga Trail making our way through several stops as Pinelands and Mahogany Hammock and ending our day at Flamingo. It was truly a pleasure to travel the boardwalks and paths with other people who are keen on being out there and find Florida’s unique environment a true respite from rather hectic South Florida city life.

The Anhinga Trail itself is a rather short trail, about .8 mile, consisting of some paved walkways and boardwalks. It winds through marshy areas with sawgrass and pools with pond apple trees laden with tillandsia epiphytes of the pineapple family. The Anhinga Trail is very popular due to its abundance of wildlife in close view and the easy layout of the walking areas. The site is complete with many birds as anhingas, various heron species, alligators and turtles. It is a great introduction to the vast environment that is Everglades National Park.

I look forward to sharing some other images from the day as it was filled with lots of color and texture. But, today thought I would share these three birds. The top image is an anhinga in a beautiful wingspread pose with its dark plumage silhouetted against a wash of light from the bright day making background for its perch in the pond apple tree. It was practically the first thing I saw rounding the bend of The Anhinga Trail and seemed perfectly fitting! Winding around the boardwalk was a body of water populated with some pond apple trees where I saw the Great Blue Heron perched on a rather gnarly branch. This majestic and beautiful species is no stranger to my view finder and always irresistable to record. And, lastly is a member of Corvidae which includes crows and ravens. I could stand to be corrected but this large bird with its shaggy rather than smooth appearance is a raven. Shaggy seems to be one of the differences between a crow and a raven and upon that and its apparent size I rest with raven.  I have never taken a picture of a raven before and cannot  even think of the word or bird without thinking “Nevermore.”

Update: My raven is indeed a crow. Ravens do not live in Florida as it happens. I guess I have never seen a raven and the ominous looking crows fit my internal image of them. Perhaps in travels I’ll see them where they live. 🙂

“Here are no lofty peaks seeking the sky, no mighty glaciers or rushing streams wearing away the uplifted land. Here is land, tranquil in its quiet beauty, serving not as the source of water, but as the last receiver of it. To its natural abundance we owe the spectacular plant and animal life that distinguishes this place from all others in our country.”

President Harry S Truman, address at the Dedication of Everglades National Park, December 6, 1947

“Everglades National Park is at once a limited and vast sampling of a region full of contrast…. This park, which is chiefly of biological interest, requires a different perspective on the part of the visitor.”

Charles W. Tebeau, Man in the Everglades, 1968

~ by Judy on February 17, 2020.

11 Responses to “Florida Everglades – Anhinga Trail”

  1. Who could not fall under the spell of that first photo. The clever capture, the excellent lighting. Beautiful. And you know my passion for herons.

    • Normally I am all about umpteenth detail on the bird so the image is definitely a deviation from my norm being more about shape. The anhinga looks like a cross kind of and dominates the image. Its a full file too not a crop. I was struck immediately when I saw the scene and thought it interesting. Glad it hit home with you!! 🙂

  2. I had no idea there was an Everglades National Park. I thought the bird at the top was a cormorant, I had never heard of Anhinga before. I am learning a lot here!

    • I can see the confusion between the two birds. One of those things once you see the differences, you got it. If you do a search on my site for anhingas or anhinga chicks you could see what their young look like. I can remember being put off by those little skinheads at first, then became quite fond of them. The Everglades is so vast and such an important ecology for Florida. It is too bad that changes in the past in rerouting water weren’t done with more awareness but restoration is under way and you can only move forward not backward. An nothing is ever the same but can still be better. The Woodstork population has certainly rebounded in a big way.

  3. Nice photo! Thanks for sharing.


  4. See how well you’ve taught me? I saw that nice, straight bill and thought, “Anhinga!” I’ve learned to use the hook at the end of the cormorant’s bill as a good identifying mark.

    The only question I have about that “raven” in your last photo has to do with your location. I thought I remembered that ravens are western/northern birds, and this Cornell map of their range seems to confirm that. In their identification section, they have some photos of the crow to compare it with. It would be great if there were some characteristic that helps to sort them out.

    It was by using that map that I finally figured out my grandmother’s “rain ravens” that she used to predict the weather actually were crows. I grew up convinced we had ravens in Iowa, and then I found out that we didn’t — decades after the fact!

    I’m going to be posting my big find from last weekend on Lagniappe in a day or so. After years of seeing sandhill cranes at a distance, or only hearing them on the wing, I finally got some decent photos — and from a short enough distance that my lens was adequate. Hoorah!

    I’ll look forward to more of your photos of the Everglades, too. It’s on my list of places to visit, that’s for sure.

    • After a bit of due diligence I’d neglected before, I believe you are correct and that my raven is really a crow. With my true love and concentration on the great herons and other wading birds, I have been lax in learning about some of our feathered friends in the area. Considering at first I thought boat tailed grackles were crows, you can see my confusion on sizes and so forth. I went with what I kind of wanted it to be Poe not withstanding. LOL!! So we are teaching each other!! I am thinking of looking around my photos for good photographic examples to show anhinga vs cormorant in a visual way. But the bill is definitely a big, big clue once you know.

      I haven’t seen many sandhills either as generally populations are a bit north of me, though not far since there are some in Palm Beach County. They are remarkable cranes and I love their eerie voices. Sandhills must be pretty widespread as I have an oriental vase thing with cranes pictured with that orange crown. Its the only actual ‘crane’ that I’ve shot. I greatly look forward to seeing the Texas ones. 🙂

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