The issue is insanity by birding so...I decided to make it rub off on you....so twist your head and watch the video.... No birds but really, just as good. In fact, couldn't get any better. The insanity is slowly drawn out.
So...a few more days of the Everglades. My first full day in the Everglades had me push deep in, all the way to Flamingo Visitor Center. This is 38 miles inland from the Royal Palm Visitor Center as you enter the park on the east side. The Visitor Center is all pink and light green. Go figure...must have been a 60's child. As I wandered the place around the center and around Eco-pond, I found some wood storks, lots of osprey, all types of herons again and they gather in flocks which reside in the marsh/woods. Stay in the car and they shall stay young man; leave the car and they spook.
But what was missing were Flamingos and Roseate Spoonbils. So I asked the ranger and she told me that Flamingos have essentially been missing from the park for 100 years. So...if I see one, and one was sighted this week someplace, I have to feel lucky. It isn't that they are not around, just not in great numbers and due to the record rains the Everglades have been having, all of the larger waterfowl are scattered, far far away from humans. They know better.
She suggested I backtrack a bit and hike Snake Bight Trail. The name sounds bad, but really isn't... A 'bight' is technically a 'bay within a bay'.... So my hopes were high that the bay within a bay and far from humans might be a place for Flamingos. A warning she gave me....Mosquitoes....be prepared.
Off I went and at the trail head of this 1.8 mile trail, I met up with Ernie. Now Ernie is an 60'ish jeweler who has a shop on Seattle's Pike's Market and leaves the winter dulls of Seattle and camps out in the Everglades for two months. We walked the trail.... not a bad walk, again, with lots of herons on either side. The mosquitos were bad and "I"....well "I" was smart and purchased a mosquito netting ($15) that covered my hands, arms, torso, neck and I had a hat on, so it just lapped over me. I looked strange but no mosquitos. Well, no...there were as Ernie lathered up on Deet the entire trip and others came down the trail with nothing. I saw perhaps 6 people both young and old, in shorts and short sleeves daring the trail...Are you stupid ...really? Are you stupid.... YES....
So Ernie and I walked to the end of the trail and found ourselves the only humans there. We chatted for 30 minutes, drank water....ate peanuts and saw the birds come out once they grew accustomed to us. Lots of Roseate Spoonbills came out from within trees. How does that bright of a bird get lost in green trees? I have no idea but other than them squawking out now and then, one wouldn't visually see them. Lots of white Ibis of all plumages depending on their age.... kingbirds, herons and more herons including a Tri-colored heron but no...no Least Bittern, which I was hoping to see, No limpkin either although I eventually saw one on the north end of the park. And no Flamingos but luckily I have seen them in a prior visit to Florida near Merritt Island and Cape Canaveral.
We hiked back..... Ernie was telling me all along that he needed a mosquito net like I have but he was also telling me that my netting was covered with mosquitos and to shake up and down and jib and jag to get them off of me prior to when I take off my netting. So I did, once we were back at the car. And wow, did I find myself bitten in some areas. Where I had my water bottle draped over my shoulder, the strap held the netting close to my left shoulder, elbow area was tight and upper left neck. I was bit....in fact, have you ever watched that show Naked and Afraid and the bites they receive? Well, I had em... But Ernie had bites all over and was in bad shape. Anyone going in, including all of those folks with no spray or netting, wow....I pity them. We would see them running down the trail to get back as we hiked up. They ran to be a jump ahead of the bugs!....
So....hike done...put in my 4 miles or so and now what? ..... I had a few hours and have seen this part of the park so decided to make my way down to the Florida Keys. Hence, the video....
This was a good part of the journey for in Key Largo I found this nice little beach bar that served Largo Ale. I had a few of them and talked to the natives like I was a native. We chatted about motorcycles, living in shacks, motor home establishments, etc etc... Pure guy talk but a nice way to end my day. A beer on the beach. As I stated earlier to my family, life doesn't get any better than this but I could have done away with that persistent 'itch' I had on my left side. I failed to see remnants of Ernest Hemingway but I did hear some 'bell toll' out in the distance.
I was to return to the Keys later on in my Florida adventure! .....