Thursday, March 1, 2012

South Bay, FL (Lake Okeechobee) – Part 1

I stayed at South Bay RV Campground for several weeks in January and February.  South Bay is the southern end of Lake Okeechobee.  The campground is just beside the levee that goes all around the lake – about 110 miles!!.  In most places there is a walking/biking trail on the levee (paved or packed dirt). I enjoyed walking almost every morning and riding 12 – 20 miles most days.  

I really didn’t know much about this area.  I choose this campground because it was one of the cheaper with good reviews in area and was within an hour or so of several things I wanted to do.  I had no idea that they raised sugar cane in the area.  I also didn’t know they burn it as part of the process.  (they burn the dead leaves and trash before harvesting)

The picture above shows the levee, bike trail and smoke where they were burning in 2 different fields.  Several times the wind was blowing in the “wrong” direction and we had black ash in the park.

Any fairly flat surface ended up with ash, including the tire cover on the back of my RV.

I enjoy walking early in the morning and saw several nice sunrises while on the levee.  Below is a shot of the campground from the levee.

Several mornings a crop duster was dusting nearby fields.  Those who sleep late probably didn’t enjoy it!  Below is the plane just over the campground. 

One day I went to Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park.  I was surprised by the unexploded ordnance sign. 

While biking the levee, I noticed a couple of Bald Eagles and a few days later saw the nest.   I checked it out most days looking for eaglets, but no luck.  On the day I was leaving the park, I decided to bike one last time and I was glad I did!!

Mom or Dad making sure I didn’t get too close!

I had to include both pictures so you can get a good view of the nest.  On the left side of the nest is what appears to be breakfast – a fish!  I guess dad had already been fishing that morning.  I stayed about 15 – 20 minutes just watching the baby eagle poke his head up out of the nest. 

One of the day trips I took was to Shark’s Valley in the Everglades.  I had gone in December, but wanted to go back.  I am very glad I did.  There was less water, so the birding was much better.

It’s funny to watch people bike so close to alligators.  Some get nervous and walk the bike, others basically ignore the gators. 

One of many swimming alligators, I like this picture because of the abstract looking water caused by the shadows and moving water. 

I saw a lot of baby alligators this trip.  I also saw a bird I had never seen before.  A Purple Gallinule -

As soon as he got the flower (or seed head) he flew away!

I couldn’t decide if this gator was grinning at me or the Purple Gallinule.

Another day trip I took was to the southern part of the Everglades.  That is part 2 of my South Bay blog.

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoy reading your posts from Florida. You have some great gator photos.