Full Day At Myakka State Park - Wednesday - January 18, 2012

Again, we were both up early! But instead of our usual 4 mile power walk, we took a leisurely 3.5 mile stroll with camera and binoculars in hand.

We started at the campground (lower left), walked along Lake Myakka to the Bird-walk (upper right) and then back the same route to the campground.00 - Route from Campground to Birdwalk along Lake Myakka

Very few people enjoy the sunrise as much as we do.  Seeing all the wildlife early in the morning is really special for us.  By 9AM, Nancy had already snapped well over a hundred pictures.  Buzzards, deer, song birds, all types of wading birds and a few feral pigs made for quite an interesting morning.

(Be sure to click on any photo to enlarge it,)

Sun is just coming up as we head down the road.01 - Bills Heading down road to birdwalk

Past the Vultures’ roosting tree.
03-Vultures in tree waking up

Turkey Vulture - a face only a mother could love;o))03a-A Face only a Mother can love

Our first view of the lake and the Sandhill Cranes!!04 - Sandhill Cranes at Sunrise

As we walked along the lake,
there were hundreds of birds coming from every direction.06 - Birds arriving from everywhere
Yes, the morning was waking up!!

This little blue bird (not sure what it is)
was singing his heart out as we walk by.05 - Small Blue Bird

It took us a while to make our way out the bird-walk
as there was so much to see in every direction!!
07 - Heading out the Birdwalk

They had a couple informational signs about the birds that can be seen in this area.08-Birds of Prey Sign09-Birds of of the Birdwalk

When we finally reach the end of the bird-walk,
this Swamp Sparrow was really checking us out;o))11 - Swamp Sparrow just Checking Us Out

There were birds everywhere and
if you look across the lake in the center,
you can see two feral pigs.
(Sorry, Nancy did not have her zoom lens)
10 - View from end of birdwalk, shallow water, ferrel pigs
The pigs are not native and really do
a lot of damage to the landscape.

I really love the green blanket made by the Saw Palmettos!!
12 - Saw Palmettos

Nice view across the lake and more Sandhill Cranes
as we head back to the campground.13 - Last View Across the Lake

The natural canopy over the roads is wonderful!!14 - Canopy over the road

Well... she was annoyed that we interrupted her breakfast!!15 - Doe Checking Us Out

All this took place before breakfast!!

After breakfast, we hopped on our bikes and rode to the visitor’s center where we watched five short films about Myakka State Park.  Myakka SP is the largest of all the state parks in Florida.

It’s about a 5.5 miles round-trip
from the campground (upper right)
to the visitor’s center (lower left).00 - Map of Bike Ride

(Remember to click on any photo to enlarge!!)

It was a beautiful morning to ride:o))01 - Leaving Campground heading toward park Entrance

Riding under the canopy and past the tour tram.02 - Passing the Tram

We didn’t stop on the way to the visitor’s center.
However, we took our time riding back
checked things out along the way.

First stop was the bridge crossing the Myakka River.

Three Fishermen (including the Great Blue Heron)03 - Crossing the Myakka River - Fishermen

The river is so low you can almost walk across in places!03b - River is very low - walk across

However, that probably is not a good idea!?!?!?03c - Crossing the Myakka River - Alligators

Feral Pigs and the destruction they leave behind:o((03d - Crossing the Myakka River - Pigs

Next stop was the Myakka River State Park Memorial.04 - Myakka State Park Memorial04b - Myakka State Park Memorial Sign

We rode passed several nature trails, but we will check them out on another day.  Right now we were getting hungry and heading back to the campground.

Much of Myakka State Park is grassy plains. 
It reminds us of what the Serengeti might look like.05 - Passing the Serengeti near the campground

After lunch, we took a break.  Just sat outside and enjoyed our campsite and the beautiful surroundings. Later in the afternoon, it began to cloud up. Before the rain came, we walked over to the marina and outpost which is just behind the campground.

It is only about 1/2 mile
from the campground (lower right) to
the Weir, that dams that creates Lake Myakka.00-Walk to Oupost and Weir

Trail from Campground to Outpost area.01 - Trail from the Campground to the Outpost Area

Moss covered Live Oak Trees which fill
with roosting Vultures every night!! 02 - Moss Cover Oaks

Airboat Marina and newer Outpost building.03 - Outpost and AirBoat Marina

Original (smaller) Outpost
which carries mostly camping supplies.04 - Smaller Oupost with camping supplies

The newer/larger Outpost. 
It is a large gift shop and restaurant.
You do get good/free WIFI here ;o))
05b - View from lake to newer Outpost

View from the Upper Deck of the new outpost.05 - View from upper deck on newer Outpost
There are many day visitors to this state park
so they provide large parking areas. 
 Just a shame it had to be right along the lake;o(

The rain clouds were rolling in so
we took the trail behind the original outpost and
headed to the Weir.
06b - Walk to the Wier - Trail

See the Vultures gathering in the trees!!!
06c - Walk to the Wier - Vultures in trees along the trail

The Weir that forms Lake Myakka.07 - The Wier

We reached the Weir just as the rain started. 
However, there was so much wildlife just below the dam
that we decided a light rain would not deter us;o))

Wood Stork and Little Blue Heron07c - The Wier - Wood Stork and Little Blue Heron

Great Egret caught his dinner!!
07d1 - The Wier - Great Egret caught his dinner

Flips his dinner into position!!
07d2 - The Wier - Great Egret flipped his dinner

Down the hatch --- All Gone!!
07d3 - The Wier - Great Egret swallowed his dinner

Nature is AMAZING!!!

Great Blue Heron fishing in the rain.07e - The Wier - Great Blue Heron in shallow Myakka River

Black-neck Stilt digging for dinner.07f - The Wier - Black-necked Stilt

Perhaps an immature Great Blue Heron???07g - The Wier - Not sure immature Great Blue Heron

Roseate Spoonbills and a lonely Wood Stork.07h - The Wier - Roseate Spoonbills

Snowy Egret
07h - The Wier - Snowy Egret

The area below the Weir was obviously
a favorite fishing ground for all the birds. 

 As we were leaving, Nancy stopped
to take a photo of this sign about alligators.  
(Click to Enlarge)
07b - The Wier - Alligator Dangerous Sign

Just as we turned to leave,
we got to see something you rarely see….
an Alligator moving on land!!

Out of the water and up the bank…08 - The Wier - Alligator climbing out into the grass
the birds never flinched…
08b - The Wier - Alligator climbing out further

He climbed out of sight and then…
in just a couple minutes,
he headed back towards the water!!

08c - The Wier - Alligator returning to water thru vultures
Guess he wasn’t hungry or Vultures don’t taste good!?!?
08d- The Wier - Alligator returning to water thru vultures08e - The Wier - Alligator returning to water thru vultures

YES, Nature is AMAZING!!!


  1. wow - what great pictures! Thanks for "taking" us along with you at this great SP. We definitely need to get into that one next year!

  2. Amazing pictures as always. Especially like the ones of the Swamp Sparrow and the Sandhill Cranes next to the lake.