Wildlife

A Photography Drive through Big Cypress Preserve in Southwest Florida

We started out by visiting the Everglades National Park Gulf Coast Visitor Center.  We were at Corkscrew Swamp earlier in the morning and decided to check out the western part of Everglades National Park.

Gator Along the Road, Big Cypress Preserve

Gator Along the Turner River Road

Most of the activities at the Everglades are water based and weren’t available at the time we were visiting.  From talking to a very helpful ranger, we decided to check out Big Cypress Preserve which is located right next door to the Everglades.

We started at the Big Cypress Welcome Center hoping to see the Manatees from the deck.  No luck, but we did see a Mangrove Snake curled up in the Mangroves.

Mangrove Water Snake, Big Cypress Preserve

Mangrove Water Snake, Big Cypress Preserve

The ranger told us about some dirt roads to drive in the Big Cypress preserve. We drove Route 41 to Turner River Road to Upper Wagonwheel Road to Birdon Road to Lower Wagonwheel Road to Route 29 which takes you back to I-75.  Going slow to look for birds and wildlife, this route will take you over an hour to complete.

We saw a good amount of birds and wildlife and this was in mid afternoon.  I plan to visit again and drive these roads in the morning.

Common Moorhen

Common Moorhen

On Turner River Road, it’s best to let a non photographer drive.  The river is on the right hand side or the road and the photographer can get terrific photographs without leaving the car and spooking the birds.  We saw 25 alligators along the road in just the 7 miles we were on Turner River Road.

We also saw Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Common Moorhens, Great Blue Herons, and Cormorants.   We were able to photograph most of these without leaving the car.

Written by Martin Belan

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