Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Taste of South Florida

For Winter 2014, Kay and I decided to forego San Diego and visit South Florida, a region that has been in our sights for a number of years. For me, it was also a great opportunity to finally visit Key West and the Everglades National Park, places I had long heard of. Starting in Ft. Lauderdale, we traveled south through Miami, then along the Florida Keys to Key West. We spent 3 nights each in Ft. Lauderdale, Coconut Grove, and Key West. Next, we explored the Everglades National Park spending 3 nights in Florida City. We drove most of the roadways within the national park, the third-largest in the lower states at 1,508,538 acres, visiting all the major visitor centers. We wanted to see alligators and gators we saw, lots of them. Spotting the shy elusive Manatee, a one-time sighting, was an extra treat and I added a number of new birds to my non-existent life list. From there we headed for the west coast of Florida, viewed by some locals as the second west coast of the U.S., spending one night in Ft. Meyers before stopping in Siesta Key, just south of Sarasota, for a week. It was nice to stay put for the week, meeting up with Kay's resident friend, Dean, and to hang with Dennis and Debbie, Californian Friends who joined us during our stay in Siesta Key. We concluded our trip with a night's stay in St. Petersburg visiting their recently built Dali Museum, designed by architect Yann Weymouth, before flying home out of Tampa Bay. We had a great time exploring South Florida despite the less than perfect weather. There is definitely a different feel between Florida's east coast with its higher population density and the wide open development of the west coast, but don't be surprised if you hear a lot of foreign languages on either coast. A playground for the top one percent and a haven for winter snow-birders, both human and avian, South Florida is worth a visit for its coastal beauty and unique watery ecosystem. I didn't do a good job with my pictures showing you the wealth that resides around South Florida with its many grand homes, over-the-top yachts, and exotic cars; but trust me, it's there. My total bird count on this trip is 76 species. To see my photographs from the trip along with some narrative, click on the link below the picture.
From South Florida 2014