Thursday, April 2 - I got up at 3am to meet the group at CHS parking lot. Some of the parents were nice enough to drive us to Richmond for our flight to Ft. Lauderdale. We rented a 15-passenger van and drove to Shark Valley Visitor Center in the Everglades along Tamiami Trail.
Our first adventure was a casual hike along the Tram road/Otter Cave Hammock Trail. We saw lots of alligators, turtles, lizards, birds, and fish. The adult alligators were really tame and allowed you to get close without running away. The baby alligators were neat to see but usually ran away. The Otter Caves were actually holes in the limestone rock formed by the sea that covered Florida at one time. The area is called Shark Valley because of the shark fossils found there.
Some of the birds I saw on the drive from Ft. Lauderdale to Shark Valley:
Great Egret (white)
Great Blue Heron
Some of the birds I saw at Shark Valley:
Red-Shouldered Hawk (S.Fl. Pale form), one with a snake kill
Black-Crowned Night Heron
Here is the whole crew, from left to right: Barbara, Kai, Rick, Michael, Max, Claire, Caroline, Stella, and Laura. The kids are polite, well behaved, and fun to work with.
The first day was long, tiring, full, rewarding.