Gatorglades

Probably the most popular attraction in the Everglades are the alligators. There are an estimated one million gators in the Everglades and a little more than one thousand crocodiles. My spouse joined Pat and I on this year’s prowl through a very accessible part of the Everglades. Along a 25-mile gravel road their are small ponds where you can find fish, rare birds, and alligators. This year we didn’t see many large gators. Pat thinks they might have gone to deeper waters due to the rather low water level this year. I was still careful when getting out of the van because of almost stepping on the tail of a 10-12 footer last year. We saw mostly 6-8 foot adult alligators and were fortunate to see seven very young ones as well. Here are some shots from the Gatorglades:

Reflections

Reflections


Dentist Visit

Dentist Visit


Profile

Profile


Head Shot

Head Shot


Driftin' Away

Driftin’ Away

2014 TOP TEN!

The panel of judges have completed their review of nearly 4000 photographs from 2014 and the results are in! Okay, I’m the only one on the panel but these are my top ten photos from 2015. Each is a favorite for various reasons. Some of the photos are from previous posts and some are brand new to this site. Today’s photo is #10.

This photo is a favorite because of the back story. Pat was driving us through the Everglades. The gravel road would frequently have places to stop where the foliage was back far enough to create a pond-like opening. There were Great Blue Herons, various kinds of egrets, a couple of species of ibis, anhingas, and many other smaller birds in various numbers in most of these stops. There were, of course, alligators and the rare crocodile. Yes, crocs exist, in very small numbers in the Everglades. I have a picture of one.

At one stop, the vehicle came to a stop along the right side of the road and I opened my door get out. I would typically looked down to make sure I wasn’t stepping in a puddle. This time, before I could look down, I heard a loud hissing sound. I looked up to the edge of the water, about 12 feet away, and saw the head of a an alligator. I looked down and saw its tail.

I suggested to Pat that she pull up a bit . . . fast! She did and I got this picture of the head of the smiling gator that kindly suggested I not step on his (her?) tail.

The Kindly Gator

The Kindly Gator

Everglades’ Alligators

There are both alligators (more rounded nose) and crocodiles (more pointed nose) in Southern Florida, but the most common are alligators. The pictures below are of some of the alligators (and maybe one crocodile) I saw in my trip through 25 miles of the Everglades. Alligators usually try to blend in with their surrounds (like posing as floating logs for example), but they also like to warm themselves in the sun. The pictures reflect both of these varied states of alligators. There is an alligator close encounter story near the end of this post.

Gater Peek-a-Boo

Gater Peek-a-Boo

Head in the Water

Head in the Water

Sunbathing Gater

Sunbathing Gater

Hiding in the Shadows

Hiding in the Shadows

Gater in Waiting

Gater in Waiting

Crocodile?

Crocodile?

Alligator Head

Alligator Head

Gater Drumsticks

Gater Drumsticks

The next two images have a story behind them. The images are of a 9-10 foot alligator that I almost stepped on. Because Pat usually parked the van close to the roadside (to allow for the few passing vehicles), I got used to opening my door and taking a look before stepping out in order to avoid mud or poison ivy. As I started to open my door at this glade, I saw an alligator tail and heard a very loud (at least to me!) hiss. I quickly closed the door and rolled down the window, taking these two shots from safer environs than an alligator’s tail . . . or jaw.

Big Daddy (or Mommy?) Alligator

Big Daddy (or Mommy?) Alligator

Big Daddy has Big Teeth

Big Daddy has Big Teeth

Dragonfly (In case you need a break from alligators)

Dragonfly (In case you need a break from alligators)

Bye Bye Gater

Bye Bye Gater

Birds of the Everglades

The Everglades, especially in the rainy season, is a slow-moving river 60 miles wide and over 100 miles long. Shaped by water and fire, the Everglades experience frequent flooding in the wet season and drought in the dry season. While we often think of the Everglades as dense marshlands, there are also expansive grasslands throughout the area.

Our (me and Pat) expedition to the Everglades began very early in the hope of getting both sunrise and mist shots over the grasslands. We were successful in our effort as seen in the first two pictures below. We then took a gravel road through much denser swamp areas with occasional openings or “glades”. It was at these small ponds that we were able to get pictures of both birds and alligators (my next post). The captions in the pictures below identify the birds with one exception. If you know the identity of the bird listed as “friend”, I would love to hear from you. I enjoy hearing from you if you don’t know this bird’s identity as well.

Sunrise over the Grasslands

Sunrise over the Grasslands

Morning Mist

Morning Mist

White Ibis

White Ibis

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis

Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Egret and Friend

Egret and Friend

Great Egret Neck Extended

Great Egret Neck Extended

Anhinga

Anhinga

Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret

Western Sandpiper

Western Sandpiper

Black Vulture (much rarer than the Turkey Vulture)

Black Vulture (much rarer than the Turkey Vulture)

Florida Scrub-Jay

Florida Scrub-Jay

Young Great Blue Heron

Young Great Blue Heron

Parting Sunrise Shot :-)

Parting Sunrise Shot 🙂

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