Postcard from Miami: Super Bowl city's wild side

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Dear Sonoma County,

I’m learning that Miami is full of wildlife as well as wild lifestyles. Somewhere out there in the Everglades there are alligators and escaped boa constrictors that have grown to 12 feet long. Even within city limits, though, there’s a lot of non-human activity here.

Tuesday, I was on a media shuttle bus to the 49ers’ daily press conferences. We were plodding through traffic on an elevated expressway when I peered down, maybe 50 feet, to what looked like a canal running parallel to the road. In the canal was a large, bloated white form, slowly moving in the water. I thought it was a baby whale at first. Then I realized: a manatee!

Guys, I saw my first manatee. From a highway overpass. Shortly thereafter, at the press conference, photographer Kent Porter called me over to the window. There was another manatee — or, more likely, the same one.

From my hotel window, which overlooks a golf course, I have seen pelicans and egrets and … what … storks? There’s a lot going on here. Oh, but that canal? Turns out it was the Miami River. Some things are wilder back in California.

Above, a manatee swims toward the bay from the Miami River Wednesday in Miami. Manatee hug the retaining walls to avoid the boat traffic in the channel.

For more photos from this week’s Super Bowl preparations in Miami, go to

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