The Everglades… A Photographic Exploration of America’s National Parks

Photo of a Black Buzzard in Everglades National Park. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

I’ve blogged about Black Buzzards before, but these characters deserve a repeat visit.

Peggy, in her former life, which I refer to as BC, before Curt, bought some swampland in Port Charlotte, Florida with dreams of a handsome profit. Eventually, over a period of about 20 years, the land reached the value she and her ex-husband had paid for it. In the heady years of the early 2000s, the property shot up to triple the original investment. We were able to dump (oh, I mean sell) it before the 2006 housing crash to a land speculator. We split the profits between our kids, the realtor, and Uncle Sam.

I tell this story because the property provided an excuse to visit Florida. It was one of three. The second was that Peggy’s parents had retired to the state from Ohio, joining the relentless flood of people from the Midwest whose elderly bones had lost their sense of humor about freezing cold winters. My brother, Marshall, a homeless man with a bank account and a van, provided the third excuse. He included Florida on his migration route. Marshall, in fact, gave us advice on when to sell the property. In the days before he had decided being homeless was more fun, he had owned a successful real estate appraisal business.

Our regular trips to Florida gave us a chance to explore the state, which can be quite scenic if you can see around the billboards and like orange trees. It’s long sandy beaches are very attractive. Peggy loves them. As a general rule, the state is too flat for me. I can gain more elevation in the twenty-minute walk to our mailbox than I can from driving to the top of Florida’s highest hill.

The low elevation and flat land make for  extensive wetlands in Florida, however. And I find this quite attractive. The swamps are filled with fascinating wildlife such as Black Buzzards, Pink Flamingos and the lurking alligators. Everglades National Park provides an excellent opportunity to explore what Florida has to offer.

Photo of Flamingos by Curtis Mekemson.

You are much more likely to see photographs about Flamingos than Black Buzzards when reading about the Everglades. I suspect you have never seen a yard featuring plastic buzzards.

Anhinga in Everglades National Park.

This Anhinga was drying his feathers and presented another photo-op. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Alligator sunbathing in the Florida Everglades.

We came on this alligator sunbathing. It would be hard to appear more relaxed. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Alligator swimming through water in Florida Everglades. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

I photographed this guy as he swam under a wooden bridge the park had built out above the wetlands.

Everglade deer photographed by Curtis Mekemson.

This buck, whose antlers were still in velvet, came by to visit our campsite.

Everglades lake photo by Curtis Mekemson.

The Everglades teem with life. Our binoculars showed that the trees across the lake were filled with birds.

Photo of Wood Stork in Everglades by Curtis Mekemson.

This fellow, with his definitive neck and bill, is a Wood Stork.

Everglades Black Buzzard. Photograph by Curtis Mekemson.

I’ll close this brief visit to the Everglades with two more photos of the Black Buzzards.

Florida Everglades Black Buzzard take a bow. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Taking a bow. The buzzard and I thank you for following this blog. (grin)

NEXT BLOG: Since we’ve been hanging out where it is really wet, let’s dry out and head for Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Southern Arizona next to the Mexican Border.

17 comments on “The Everglades… A Photographic Exploration of America’s National Parks

  1. That last photo’s a classic. I’m rather fond of the wood stork, though – and what’s not to like about alligators? It is interesting to compare the buzzard and stork’s heads – quite similar, unlike their reputations. (E.g. – buzzard bad, stork good, or at least more socially acceptable)

    • Speaking of bad buzzards, I watched these guys tear apart a box of supplies some folks had left on a picnic table while they drove off to dinner. Signs posted everywhere warned people to put things away. I had little sympathy but tried to chase off the buzzards. Fat chance! –Curt

  2. My son and I just returned from a trip to Miami. We took an airboat ride through the Everglades near Gator Park. Lots of fun, and luckily I didn’t see any snakes. Only gators and birds. 🙂

  3. I love the self-confidence in that Buzzard’s face, he doesn’t have a single question in life, he just *is*. Great photos. I didn’t know an alligator could drape like a cat. The dramatic roots (if that is what they are) hanging in the water make a great shot.

  4. Well I love the pink flamingoes, they’re so pretty, but those black buzzards are fabuloso! Also love the wood stork – so original!
    Great photos as usual you two.

  5. Nice post Curt, and great photos. I lived in FL (twice) until I decided that the annual hurricane hassle wasn’t worth it. Also, a 120% increase in my insurance rates helped move us along. But, I do love the Glades. I’ve been there many times at different times of the year, and it’s a natural treasure. I was there for alligator mating season, and the growl of the bull gators was incredible. ~James

  6. Ah, Curt I was telling my hubby about you and Peggy. Your incredible travels — these pictures are just beautiful. Thanks for taking us along and I look forward to your next adventure. Happy Thanksgiving.

  7. Wow, what clarity in these shots. I was talking with my grand daughter recently about how amazing our world is with all of the many animals and birds..The buzzard looks like a true dandy..until you toss some food his way..lol

    great shots!

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