BEST PLACE TO BIRDWATCH - 2005
Everglades National Park
305-242-7700 There are other trails where you're likely to see the full variety of South Florida's wading bird population, but none so accessible to the novice, and none with more of a certainty of close-up encounters with tricolored heron, great blue heron, anhinga, cormorant, egret (and egret rookeries), little blues, greens. It's touristy, sure, but even the wilder coastal trails, while offering a more pristine natural beauty, generally are less likely to have so many birds. This trail -- part paved path, part boardwalk -- snakes around and through a shallow-water saw-grass habitat, a hardwood hammock, deep ponds, and mangrove marshes where you will definitely see garfish, alligators, turtles, and maybe even an otter along with all the birds. The largest number of animals can be seen in winter, when parts of the Everglades dry up, leaving the available water and food (read: fish) supply concentrated in deeper channels like those at Anhinga Trail.