About five years ago, I took a winter trip to southern Florida that included a few nights in Everglades National Park. I stayed in a cabin in Flamingo. This was when I first started getting into birdwatching, and before I even owned a DSLR camera. That trip to Florida was fantastic.
While in the Everglades during that trip, I would explore some trail of the park during the morning hours, and then return to my cabin mid-afternoon. After a bit of food and rest, I would then walk over to a place called Eco Pond to look for more birds, sometimes staying until it got too dark to see anything. Eco Pond was simply a half-mile hike around a pond that had a tree covered island in its middle. But there were alligators in the pond, and a large variety of birds to be seen.
When Tammy and I visited Everglades National Park this past January, we took time one day to drive all the way down to Flamingo and visit Eco Pond. Between my first trip a few years ago and this one, however, several hurricanes have blown across southern Florida. The then-and-now difference was dramatic: the cabins were gone, the hotel-like lodge at Flamingo was heavily damaged and deserted, the first viewing deck at Eco Pond was gone, and there were fewer trees. I remember seeing specific birds on my first trip in trees that were nowhere to be found on this trip.
A few posts back I shared a picture of an American Crocodile sunning itself on a board at Eco Pond. The photos below show Black-necked Stilts (and some Blue-winged Teals) snagging a convenient meal from Eco Pond. When I look at Flamingo and Eco Pond, I see radical changes relative to what I remember from a few years back. I wonder how the animal kingdom sees it?