Best Place To Birdwatch (1999)

Anhinga Trail

As a life form, humans have the singular advantage of experiencing wonderment. No, we can't flap our wings and soar into the great beyond. But we can imagine what it must be like. Thus great bird watching should combine two elements: one, the spiritual elevation of vicarious adventure, and two, birds. The well-worn Anhinga Trail, a wooden walkway stilted above the swamplands of the Taylor Slough, has oft been cited as the most reliable spot to spot the usual South Florida favorites: the gnarly, snail-eating swimmers called limpkin; the ubiquitous nonpasserine namesake anhinga; the underwater-hunting cormorants; a variety of members of the ardeidae family including the great blue heron (the largest local heron) and the virginal snowy egret; red-shouldered hawks; vultures; plus common passerines such as grackles and blackbirds. Visiting the trail at the right time (weekdays just before dawn are best) helps facilitate the experience. The crowds are thin then, allowing space for your spiritual transformation into winged freedom. While tripping thusly, just be careful not to step on any alligators.


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