Green Florida – Loxahatchee

 

Loxahatchee is a National Wildlife Refuge located in south Florida, with 221 square miles of Everglades habitat. Small roads take you to different area of the refuge though you’ll want to begin your visit at the small visitors center, boasting several interactive exhibits, including  a simulated airboat.

My dad and Cormac headed out there at around 6 A.M. one morning during our vacation, planning to birdwatch and ride bicycles along the paths to look for alligators. Apparently this is something my dad often does when they’ve gone down there to visit because Loxahatchee, in any given year, has as many as 257 species of birds using the refuge’s diverse wetland habitats, made up of canals and “swamp” areas. My parents have been avid bird watchers for as long as I can remember (and I remember being terrified as we crossed three lanes of Garden State Parkway traffic to sit by the side of the highway watching hawks) and I’ve been to Loxahatchee with them and my grandparents in the past.

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Cormac and Grandpa at the end of their morning wildlife bike ride.

It was too cold to see many alligators early in the morning, but Cormac got in a great ride and visit with his grandfather while testing out his new camera (see slightly blurry photos below) until the rest of us woke up and drove down. It was still a little cool but we had fun walking on the extensive boardwalk system through the cypress swamp and saw one large alligator off to the side of a small access road. On the way out we stopped at a large farmer’s market on the corner, enjoying boiled peanuts, fruit, organic cookies, and hot dogs.

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Big ol’ gator (he was a ways away – I zoomed in)

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Wetland grasses (photo courtesy of Cormac)

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Grasses and bird (photo courtesy of Cormac)

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photo bombed!

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