12 February 2013
Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park ranks up there as one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. I love the clouds, the open skies, the way that the greens and blues look like a painting. Not to mention, the sunrise and sunsets, which I must say are gorgeous.
The Everglades are also mighty fine for birders. I have spent many days hiking flooded trails and upland pine forests. Its the most reliable spot for bluebirds and nuthatches in South Florida. It's also a great place to look for rarities. I'll never forget my lifer Cuban Pewee seen near Research Road or my two Big Days that I spent in the park.
I also am proud to say that the park staff is committed to keep this park accessible to the public. There was a recent closing on Research Road due to the security of the historic Nike Missile Base and I sent in a complaint. Within the month, I was given an email response with an access code to the gate. They are allowing birders to still use this restricted area on an honor system. While I don't think this is a long-term solution. I was humbled by the fact that even my one voice was heard and a special exception was given to a special interest group.
Next time you're in South Florida, stop by Everglades National Park and check out the birding opportunities. Maybe you'll even get lucky and see a python or a panther. I can count myself as one of the lucky ones to have seen both, though I must admit I wish the pythons were eradicated.