Out Tamiami Way


Juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) up in Cypress Trees in Big Cypress Preserve.

The images submitted today are from almost exactly a year ago. For several years my birthday has been an excuse for a trip out Tamiami way to see the birds, gators, trees and any natural surprises along Tamiami Trail, Loop Road and Big Cypress Preserve. Even a nice stop in Clyde Butcher’s Ochopee Gallery and a diner for lunch in Everglades City are in the offing. I look forward to repeating the adventure this coming weekend. You really never know what you will see and every time is both predictable and surprising. Generally a day spent peering through dense foliage or exploring intermittent ponds or strands puts the world aright correcting the sense of doom most media instills. Nice to remember that there is a domain full of beauty, sweet smelling air, and echoes of bird calls where survival is the essence of existence unfettered by the generalized worry that we humans do endure.

Walk along the trail of Big Cypress and see what you see……….I await another adventure……

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) up in Cypress Trees


Turkey Vulture Face (Cathartes aura) ….a zoom in to show the interesting face and warm inquisitive gaze of this commonly seen vulture in South Florida. They are among the Wood Storks as favourites to see for their interesting expressions and textures.  While Wood storks have a more superior demeanor, I find Turkey vultures more friendly and warmer in expression.


The anhinga ( Anhinga anhinga ) has many names such as snakebird,  American darter, or water turkey and is common here in sunny South Florida.  The word anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language meaning snake bird or devil bird. Devil not sure I personally understand but the undulating long neck with the quick head motions of the bird are quite snake like. This makes them tricky to photograph in the wild though. With my small group of images from which this one is chosen getting the face in focus was challenging. They don’t stay still for long.


The American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is not an uncommon sight in Big Cypress but always fun to see and evocative of more primitive times. This fellow is dappled with shadows of branches and leaves on its textured skin.

This scene in Big Cypress, Loop Road or along Tamiami Trail is a very typical and part of the ambiance of the swamp. The Great Egret ( Ardea alba) is a  common bird to see but always lovely to catch in the shadowy environs of the swamp.



I am always partial to cypress knees and have taken so many picures of their textures and shapes. Sometimes when looking for birds in the swampy depths you see rather magical scenes like this cluster of cypress knees lit by sun through the foliage. Seems like a secret garden of young growing cypress.

Until Waiting is Filled,



~ by Judy on February 19, 2023.

17 Responses to “Out Tamiami Way”

  1. Happy birthday Judy! Loved your gallery today, especially the swamp photos. If I’m not mistaken, the lead picture on your blog was taken in the swamp from your boat? I always adore your White Herons aka Great Egrets and your Anhingas, too. I hope you have a wonderful outing for your birthday weekend. Is your birthday today? My daughter’s birthday is today, and mine is the 24th. (Please excuse any typos, I’m composing this with a voice to text app, because I still can’t see well enough to type.) Take care, and keep the luminous bird photos coming!

    • Yours is the day before mine…I’m on the 25th Saturday!! Not sure if we will do the ride Saturday or Sunday but I think the weather will be promising both days….and Friday is a possibility depending on if we can sneak a day off. We Pisces have to stick together!! Thanks for the nice note and I sure wish your eyesight improves for you!! Oh and yes, my banner Great White Heron was shot from our rubber boat floating along in some mangroves in the Pennicamp area. It was pretty early morning with nice light and I was thrilled to see that bird on the prop roots. Great setting for sure. I think it was in the month of June as I recall.

      • Hooray for Pisces. Makes sense that we appreciate Birds that eat fish. Those photos from your rubber boat in Pennicamp must have delighted your eyes when you saw them downloading. Thanks for the well wishes for my eyes and have a great birthday outing. That lunch spot sounds delicious.

      • Speaking of birds that eat fish. One story I remember reading about Audubon is that on one occasion he ate a perch which a Great blue heron had recently swallowed.
        Looks like my birthday outing will happen tomorrow instead of the weekend due to scheduling issues. So yay a day to play hooky.

        I really do wish you a wonderful birthday on the 24th!! 2023 is moving along a bit too fast I think.

      • Well, I guess Audubon didn’t want to waste food, but… ugh. Playing hooky is a great hobby. And why celebrate your birthDAY when you can celebrate your birthWEEK? Have a fun birthWEEK! And thanks for the kind birthday wishes, too.

  2. Totally knocked out by your photos. As always. And I know it’s not till the weekend, but Happy Birthday!

    • LOL thanks so much! I didn’t really get out too much in 2022 but what I did do has resided unattended in my computer for quite awhile. Nice to trip down memory lane a bit. Tomorrow will take the day to go exploring. Who knows what the day will bring?

  3. Stunning images. The Alligator is very ominous. Were you very far away. My favourite shot is the heron.

    • Not sure the actual distance from the gator, but I was standing on a dirt road beside a stretch of water..not wide…and the gator on the opposite bank. My Saturday trip ended up happening on Wednesday due to scheduling and there were tons of gators and many on the side of the dirt road right close. Once I was concentrating on approaching a bird on a tree in the pool of water and as I neared heart a loud splash. Didn’t see the gator on the edge, so paid better attention thereafter. While they were plentiful and active, most just wanted to go the other way.

      Glad you enjoyed the night heron…the cypress trees make such a great scene with it.

  4. Such beautiful scenes… and faces you are greeted with when you go out to shoot. The Turkey Vulture is simply a very cool bird, and you capture its spirit so well. Wonderful to have your photos to look forward to and wish you a great weekend ahead!

    • It is true…greeted by such great scenes. My weekend trip ended up being on a Wednesday…played hooky from the office to fit it in. I didn’t see any vultures actually this time but gators were unusually plentiful. Saw some small gators..without mom…so maybe it is their breeding season. Plus cooler times of year they sun on top and are easier to spot. Hope to post a small selection. Everything looked quite beautiful.

  5. Birthday? I had forgotten such things exist. (Okay. I keep TRYING to forget them!)

    I certainly hope your special day was – well – special!

    The Tamiami trail is such a wonderful thread to travel and explore its many offshoots into the Big Cypress, Everglades and beyond. Lots of great memories from there and, hopefully, still more waiting to be created.

    Enjoy the adventure!

    (Love all of your terrific photographs! Looks like Florida.)

    • Our trip was indeed lovely….all looked beautiful and very Florida. Ended up being Wednesday instead of Saturday…after the busy traffic getting out there, it was especially serene and nice. I imagine you have been along that road. Have you visited Clyde Butcher’s Ochopee gallery? Or gone on one of the swamp walks they offer??? I remember my first one with them and it was quite memorable. Jeff Ripple was our guide that day.

      Well it is nice to be remembered on birthdays and do something fun, not necessarily focus on the ‘number.’ Funny how after a certain point you have some pride in “making it” to that number. I turned 72 as it happens. Saw a show recently about Leonard Cohen and some interviewer when he was early 70’s asked him if he was old. His reply was along the lines that he wasn’t old but was in the foothills of old age. So I liked the poetry of that but wondered if the mountain was Everest or some lower peak??? Guess I am in the foothills of some mountain now.

  6. Lordie, Lordie — look who’s so old her memory and attention span have degraded. That would be me! Beyond that, the ability to keep all the balls in the air has degraded, too.

    That said, happy belated birthday to you! I hope your day of exploration was wonderful. I’ll confess that your title got me somewhat off track, because it evoked the song “Way Down Mexico Way,” and one thing led to another. I can pretty much guarantee that the border doesn’t have the sort of delights you’ve shared here, though.

    I especially like the photo of the cypress knees. They’re everywhere in my front yard — think it holds rain from time to time? Our younger alligators are beginning to appear now, and the Black Vultures are starting to show up at the tops of trees. It’s wonderful to see them, and I’m so glad we have both species.

    I’m off for a weekend of exploring, myself. I’ll get to your other post this evening. For now, it’s time to hit the road!

    • Really you have cypress knees in your front yard!! I guess I didn’t realize how close you were to cypress and alligators and black vultures. That is amazing and so great!! My house is on a canal but I guess the depth doesn’t attract wading birds. Once in a great while a green heron or a night heron might drop in briefly to the dock. Have never seen a great blue heron on my dock or anything. Mom’s house in Merritt Island had frequent visits from beautiful Great blues. Her canal was off the Banana River.

      Funny when you a post or a title for it pops in your head. Out Tamiami Way just sprang for some reason…maybe some vague memory of a familiar lilt to it!! Just seemed fitting as we were out that way but not exactly there.

      I am glad you mentioned the cypress knees picture. The scene was obscured by dense foliage so I had to get the lens in a spot where it fit in the viewfinder. That added to the magic of it as they looked like some hobbit village or something.

      Hope your day of exploring delivers some cool images for both camera and mind.

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