Cypress Preserve – Loop Road

A dapper male anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) sits in the bright green glory of a cypress tree branch as anAmerican Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) glides beneath.

 

Loop Road , a 24 mile natural drive which loops off of  the westerly bound Tamiami Trail and rejoins Tamiami Trail at Monroe Station, is one of my very favourite places to go with my camera and to spend some time immersed in nature. I have done a number of posts of images from the area and always enjoy a chance to visit. Certainly if you enjoy the sweetness of the Cypress Swamp with all of its varied birds, gators, varieties of fern, cypress trees and knees this is your place. Whether it is a day busy with wildlife and birds dropping in and gators sunning in plain view or a quieter day with gators lurking beneath the water and birds just tantalizing calls from deep within the shadows of the cypress forest, there is always magic there. In a way I favor those days, birds sight unseen, but evocative, haunting sounds opening that time portal into earlier, less developed times when only the likes of Audubon dared tread in quest of knowledge.

See the bottom of this post for a map of the area and beneath the map a link to learn more of the history of this unassuming dirt road.

The images are some representative shots of what you’d see as you drive along and wait to see who drops in and is one of only two nature trips I took in the very strange year of 2020.

Male anhinga sunning in the Cypress Swamp.


A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) strolls in the peace of the Cypress Preserve.

 

The stately Great Egret (Ardea alba) with aigrettes trailing in the dark water disappears into the sunlit forest.

 

 

Loop Road - Cypress Preserve Map

 

Click on: Loop Road – Miles of History to learn more of the area these images were taken.

Loop Road aka County Road 94 was described as a “quiet dirt byway off the Tamiami Trail” in the August 1976 Edition of National Geographic Magazine. This 24 mile scenic drive loops off of Tamiami Trail winds through various Cypress Preserve habitats exiting again by Monroe Station. See the map above for some detail and click on the link above for some very interesting history.

 

 

Can’t wait for another Cypress Preserve hit…umm in the cooler temps of the fall!!

Judy

~ by Judy on June 23, 2021.

7 Responses to “Cypress Preserve – Loop Road”

  1. Fabulous Great Blue Judy! You caught the GBH in prime breeding colors judging by the orange of the top bill. And glad nothing caught those Anhingas (we don’t have them here and apparently my spell-checker doesn’t have any either. Lovely post and I learned a lot about the area. Best, Babsje

    • Too funny about the spell checker!! I do love seeing herons and egrets decked out in their mating colors for certain. The Cypress Swamp and Preserve certainly offer wonderful settings for most anything that lives there. Great blue herons do drop in often to add majesty to those evocative scenes. I have not seen any nests in the Loop Road area, however, but mating birds must come there to feed or just pass through on the way from here to there.

  2. I remember your earlier posts about this Loop Road. Thanks for going there again and giving us these wonderful photos!

    • Never really gets old and always an opportunity for respite. Hopefully more visits to the general area in the fall. Thanks for the kind words.

  3. These are fantastic, Judy (and from a British pov, fantastical) so good to see them again.

  4. I smiled at that first photo. The two stumps or knees behind the alligator brought to mind two of the three “see no evil, hear no evil…” monkeys. It’s also just so evocative of swamp life. We don’t have the same kind of vegetation, and the anhingas aren’t as common here as cormorants, but the ‘bird-gator-plants’ combo certainly is familiar.

    I especially like the big sunlit leaf above the head of the Great Egret. It reminds me of oriental potentates who had servants following along with palm leaf shades to keep them cool!

    • I like the way you summed up photo 1….bird-gator-plants!! That is pretty much it. I do take great pleasure though when I have more than one animal in the same shot and will wait for something near but not in the frame to glide in. Or if aiming at a gator enjoy the serendipity of a pretty bird landing to complete the scene. I like scenes and portraits both. I also have an affinity for cypress knees and have thought to post some of my favourite cypress knees in a series. Cypress knees really give a scene a primordial mood.

      I had to go back and look at the foliage around the Great Egret to see about that palm umbrella thought. Yep I can see it, though it didn’t keep the sun off the bird’s head.

      I can remember the first time I saw an anhinga in the cypress preserve. I thought it so out of place thinking they belong by the sea on marine pilings sunning themselves. I had only seen them so. It is fun to get favourite species in various settings.I love cypress trees!!

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