A Visit To Shark Valley in Everglades National Park

We had heard from many people that Shark Valley in the Everglades National Park was well worth a trip, so we planned a day there from our campsite in Naples – and it was a wonderful day!

Shark Valley is a 15 mile loop road that you can hike, bike or ride the tram.  We started off hiking with Louise using her binoculars to spot and me with the 600mm and TC-17 on tripod and gimbal head over my shoulder.   We did not plan to hike the entire loop road (certainly not with my payload) but we wanted to see what the action was for birding.

We spotted a few of the usual suspects – wading birds – but we were surprised to find Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) in the  Sawgrass. And of course the American Alligator in great supply!

Great-Blue-Heron-(Ardea-herodias)-Shark-Valley-Evergldes-National-Park-RKing-15-003584-vv

Usual Suspect – Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)Wood-Stork-(Mycteria-americana)-Shark-Valley-Evergldes-National-Park-RKing-15-003515-vvUsual Suspects – Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) and Tri-colored Heron (Egretta tricolor) in the background

Killdeer-(Charadrius-vociferus)-Shark-Valley-Evergldes-National-Park-RKing-15-003523-vv

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)

I then changed camera and lens to take some landscape images, or should I say cloudscapes? The Sawgrass Prairies seem to go on forever!

Sawgrass-Clouds-and-Hammocks-Shark-Valley-Evergldes-National-Park-RKing-15-003559-vv

Sawgrass-Clouds-and-Hammocks-Shark-Valley-Evergldes-National-Park-RKing-15-003554BW-vv

We headed back via the boardwalk to have our picnic lunch and buy tickets for the 2:00pm tram.  Earlier, when we arrived, we went into the visitor centre to ask about birding and getting around Shark Valley.  Fortunately we were talking to Shaun, a very knowledgeable and exuberant Park Ranger, so when I heard that he was guiding the 2:00pm tram, naturally we wanted to get tickets.

Periphyton-Shark-Valley-Evergldes-National-Park-RKing-15-003570-vvShaun didn’t disappoint. He was totally enthusiastic and provided an excellent commentary.  We learnt a lot about The Everglades, past and future with the enormous restoration program underway. At one point Shaun was telling us about how wonderful Periphyton was as it cleanses the water but also how under threat it was with the new level of pollution in the water seeping down through Florida – he even leapt out of the tram, jumped into the marsh and grabbed a whole handful so that he could pass it around for us all to feel!

We learnt that the American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) bask through the day to get warmth as they are nocturnal hunters, but this one was too hot so it has its mouth open in order to cool down (not because it was hungry!).

American-Allegator-(Alligator-mississippiensis)-Shark-Valley-Evergldes-National-Park-RKing-15-003575-vv

We also learnt that Alligators live in fresh water habitats and Crocodiles live in salt water habitats. The Everglades is a freshwater habitat (except where it meets the Gulf of Mexico).  However, we were shown an American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) that didn’t know the difference.  It turned up last year in the fresh waters of Shark Valley and has lived there ever since!

American-Crocodile-(Crocodylus-acutus)-Shark-Valley-Evergldes-National-Park-RKing-15-003574-vv

Halfway through the tram ride there was a stop at the Observation Tower. Shaun explained to us how importance of prescribed burns are to slow encroachment by invasive plants and replace natural burns which do not happen frequently enough now to maintain the Everglades natural balance.  We could see the controlled burn off in the distance – and we could smell it too.

Towards the end of the tram rides we saw an Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) nest with two chicks that had hatched the day before.

Anhinga-new-born-(Anhinga-anhinga)-Shark-Valley-Evergldes-National-Park-RKing-15-003598-vv

We thoroughly recommend a visit here, not for the birding – it wasn’t that busy, but to learn a lot about the Everglades National Park and what it contributes to our planet.  Maybe you will be lucky enough to meet Shaun Miller and be on his guided tram tour!

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24 Responses to A Visit To Shark Valley in Everglades National Park

  1. james says:

    Impressive sets of wheels there folks! Isn’t retirement wonderful? As I’m fond of telling Nancy (just before the bookend narrowly misses my head) every night is Friday night and every day is Saturday… Let’s hope her aim never improves! Looking forward to hearing and seeing more… Love you two..

  2. Bruce KAY says:

    Signed up to this blog. Looking forward to following your adventures and seeing your fabulous photos. Keep healthy and happy you two.

    P.S. Hi from Rita.

  3. Thomas McMurray says:

    Louise, Richard,

    Great pics, sweet RV however I would have expected to see a Jeep Grande Cherokee on the trailer.

  4. Dave Streatfield says:

    Hi Richard and Louise

    Margaret passed this on to us ! Hope that’s OK. Your account of the Everglades very interesting and the photos spectacular. Very impressed by the size of the vehicle(s) !
    Dave & Helen

    • R & L says:

      Hello David & Hellen, glad Margaret passed it on as we didn’t have your email. Hope you will go to the blog and subscribe as going forward we will not be sending the emails. Cannot remember whether Margaret subscribed or not!

  5. Margaret says:

    Sounds like quite an adventure! Everglade Park is great and it shows how the south part of Florida used to be even farther north. LOVE the photos and the up close look at your finds! Keep on rolling!!!

  6. Barbara and Bill Miller says:

    So glad to hear all is well.You know I wish I was there.
    Lots of snow here.
    Keep in touch

    • R & L says:

      Hi Barbara and Bill, thanks for commenting on the blog. The best way to keep in touch would be to subscribe to the blog. When you look at your email, click “read more” and it will take you to the blog. You can then enter your email and first name in the boxes on the top right of the page and then you will get an email every time we post a blog – if you want to that is.

  7. Nancy says:

    Wow. Great pictures you guys. I believe I have successfully subscribed to your blog. I look forward to reading your posts. Take care. Nancy

  8. Terry says:

    Hi Richard and Louise! I am SO happy for the both of you. What an amazing adventure – the photos are spectacular!
    Terry

    • R & L says:

      Thank you for commenting on the blog. We notice you did not subscribe to the blog, if that was your intention that’s fine, otherwise, the best way to keep in touch would be to subscribe to the blog. When you look at the email you received, click “read more” and it will take you to the blog. You can then enter your email and first name in the boxes on the top right of the page and then you will get an email every time we post a blog – if you want to that is.

  9. Francis and Alison says:

    Hello you two- glad you are at last underway. One day we Amy make your part of the world!

  10. Lynn says:

    Great to hear from you both. Beautiful pics. It’s like National Geographics by “Louise & Richard’s RV Tour”.

    • R & L says:

      Thank you for commenting on the blog. We notice you did not subscribe to the blog, if that was your intention that’s fine, otherwise, the best way to keep in touch would be to subscribe to the blog. When you look at the email you received, click “read more” and it will take you to the blog. You can then enter your email and first name in the boxes on the top right of the page and then you will get an email every time we post a blog – if you want to that is.

  11. Brian Farwell says:

    Great adventure you two are pursuing. Hard cover to follow…

    • R & L says:

      Thank you for commenting on the blog. We notice you did not subscribe to the blog, if that was your intention that’s fine, otherwise, the best way to keep in touch would be to subscribe to the blog. When you look at the email you received, click “read more” and it will take you to the blog. You can then enter your email and first name in the boxes on the top right of the page and then you will get an email every time we post a blog – if you want to that is.

  12. Mary & Drew says:

    Hi you guys!
    M&D

    • R & L says:

      Hi right back to you both. You added a comment, to subscribe, when you get onto the blogsite you key your email address, first name and interests in the three boxes on the top left.

    • R & L says:

      Thank you for commenting on the blog. We notice you did not subscribe to the blog, if that was your intention that’s fine, otherwise, the best way to keep in touch would be to subscribe to the blog. When you look at the email you received, click “read more” and it will take you to the blog. You can then enter your email and first name in the boxes on the top right of the page and then you will get an email every time we post a blog – if you want to that is.

  13. Glad to see you are both well, please keep in touch as we may meet again somewhere.
    regards.
    UK

    • R & L says:

      Thanks Charles, Hope you subscribe to the blog.

      • R & L says:

        Thank you for commenting on the blog. We notice you did not subscribe to the blog, if that was your intention that’s fine, otherwise, the best way to keep in touch would be to subscribe to the blog. When you look at the email you received, click “read more” and it will take you to the blog. You can then enter your email and first name in the boxes on the top right of the page and then you will get an email every time we post a blog – if you want to that is.

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