2019 USA trip - A photo travelogue
   
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Charleston, South Carolina

 

 

Southeastern USA was very hot this time of year. Driving from Charleston to Miami with a lot of crisscrossing in Florida, I experienced daytime temperatures between 30-36°C (90-100°F). This was of course a challenge coming from Northern Norway, but with A/C in the car and in motels at night, it was kind of OK.

On this page I show a few photos from the trip. Having visited the region in 2001, I decied to revisit some of the most interesting wildlife preserves. Although nice, I still prefer the western states. At times it feels too crowded in Florida. The inland might be more authentic and less crowded, but the extensive retirement home building all over the state ruins this natural wonder. Here I totally agree with Carl Hiaasen, and his cynical view on residental development in the Sunshine State.

On this page some of my impressions from the region are shown.

 

Charleston

 

Charleston

Charleston

 

Charleston Waterfront Pier

Charleston

 

Conference at Francis Marion Hotel, Charleston

Dredging in Charleston Harbor, May 2019

 

Longnose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus), South Carolina Aquarium

Fish, South Carolina Aquarium

 

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus), South Carolina Aquarium

First stop, at Givhans Ferry State Park, just east of Charleston, South Carolina

 

Rental car, a 4WD Jeep Compass. Luckily, it came with a navigation system, which was actively used

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina

 

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

 

I think this is Water Spangles (Salvinia minima). Looks similar to an invasive plant I saw in Botswana, introduced from Brasil (Kariba Weed, Salvinia molesta). Water Spangles in native to North America

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

 

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge

Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides), South Carolina. An nonparasitic epiphytic plant common in Southern USA

 

Spanish Moss flowers

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia

 

 

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

 

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Georgia

 

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

 

Okefenokee boardwalk

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

 

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Goethe State Forest, Central Florida

 

It's hot outside! 96°F or 36°C

The Goethe Giant, a 920 year old Bald Cypress tree (Taxodium distichum), Big Cypress Boardwalk Trail, Goethe State Forest

 

The Goethe Giant

Beehives in the wilderness, Goethe Forest, Florida

 

Florida landscape

Protect the Manatees!

 

Crystal River waterfront

Crystal River manatee boat trip operator

 

Crystal River canal with divers looking for manatees

Crystal River manatee

 

Manatee tail with propeller scars

Manatee spring, Crystal River

 

Manatee boat trip in Crystal River

Charlie's Fish House Restaurant in Crystal River

 

 

Shop in Crystal River

White beach in St. Petersburg, Florida

 

Canal in St. Petersburg

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, Florida

 

Lake Apopka

Lake Apopka

 

Heavy algal bloom. Must be plenty of phosphorus and nitrogen here. Lake Apopka, Florida

Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands (Viera Wetland)

 

Travelers Inn, Okeechobee, Florida

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park is located approximately 25 miles north of Okeechobee

 

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

 

Watering hole with a small alligator. Ranch near Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

Location for Swallow-tailed Kite and Crested Caracara. Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

 

My rental car was overheating in the hot weather. This is how far I got (LaBelle City). I called Alamo, and they sent a tow truck to pick up the car, and drive me to the nearest Alamo office in Fort Myers. There I got a new car, and was on the road in less than 4 hours after my first call to them. Very good service from Alamo, the car rental company!

The tow truck driver

 

Bridge on Estero Island

Replacement rental car, a Jeep Cherokee this time. Better on the highwys, but not 4WD and no navigation system

 

One of the fenced areas for Burrowing Owl, Cape Coral, Florida

Siesta Key Beach, Sarasota, Was here to look for the Black Skimmer, not the other "birds"

 

Black Skimmer habitat, Fort De Soto Park, St. Petersburg

Flamingo Motel, Bonita Springs, North Naples. For once, a very nice and clean motel with a great pool area

 

Had an Island Quesadilla at Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill, Siesta Key Village

What a Florida or US holiday really looks line. With a lot of time spent in the car driving

 

With many lanes in each direction and heavy traffic

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

 

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Giant airplant (Tillandsia fasciculata), Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

 

Gumbo-limbo Tree (Bursera simaruba)

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

 

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Southern Florida agricultural water irrigation canal

 

Stormwater Treatment Area 5/6

Stormwater Treatment Area 5/6. Excess nutrients, particularly phosphorus, found in stormwater runoff pose a risk to the Everglades. These nutrients flow from lawns, farms, roadways and other developed areas. When a nutrient, such as phosphorus, enters this ecosystem in excess, plant growth is stimulated, producing an overabundance of undesirable vegetation. Cattail and other species respond with vigor, crowding out native wetland plants such as sawgrass and preventing the sun’s rays from reaching plants in the water. Stormwater treatment areas are constructed wetlands that remove excess nutrients. They play a vital role in protecting and restoring the Everglades.

 

 

Stormwater treatment areas are built specifically for improving Everglades water quality. However, their vast, shallow waters and rich plant life also make them outstanding habitat for wildlife, including threatened and endangered species. Stormwater Treatment Area 5/6 is supposed to be one of the better birding spots in Southern Florida.

 

 

Stormwater Treatment Area 5/6. Turned out to be closed off for the public when I visited

 

Stormwater Treatment Area 5/6

Airboat fun in the Everglades

 

Airboat speeding. Hold on to your hat!

Demonstrating the teeth of a young gator

 

Gear in the car, Camera, cell phone, sun screen and some other mess :)

Everglades plain. Nice to experience it in the green season!

 

Into Everglades National Park in the morning on the last day

Warning

 

Island Cafe, Everglade City. Had alligator nuggets here. Tasty!

Wildflowers in May in the Everglades National Park

 

Eco Pond, Flamingo, Everglades National Park. It was almost dried out, Biting bugs were out in numbers here ..

Coastline at Flamingo, in the southern part of the Everglades

 

Flamingo Harbor, Everglades National Park

Fuddruckers burger restaurant, Miami

 

Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

Trail around the ponds in Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

 

Fern in Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

Restaurant snack in Florida City

 

Homeward bound - Manhattan, New York