See You Later, Alligator

(Taylor Creek Storm Water Management Center – Part 2 of 5)

Continuing from my last post, I have more birds (and more lifers!) that I want to share from my two-day visit to Taylor Creek SWMC, but first I thought I’d take you for a walk on the wild side of nature in Florida…..

Wanna see some Alligators?

Florida is known for their alligators, they are found in all 67 counties.  Because of their danger to humans, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission puts out a brochure, “A Guide to Living with Alligators”, along with a phone number if anyone has a problem with one.  One of our campground rules includes that we are to report immediately to the office if we encounter an alligator around our site or within the park.

At Taylor Creek SWMC, I was honestly hoping for a sighting of one to photograph along with my birds.  In two days, I was not disappointed, I saw more than 50 easily!

It was always quiet and serene while walking the trails both days.  But it did became a bit nerve-wracking when all of a sudden you would hear a helpless bird frantically squawking loudly, followed by loud water-thrashing noises.   Then dead silence.   Each time, I remember saying, poor birdie….

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Above Alligator to left at waterline, slowly making his way to the right where (my) Roseate Spoonbill, Glossy Ibis and White Ibis are at waterline.  I didn’t stay to watch!

 

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I held my breath as I watched the above Purple Gallinule who didn’t seem to notice the hidden Alligator.  I’m happy to report the Purple Gallinule made it pass him!

 

Some Alligators were at a distance, napping in the sun or moving slowly on top of the water.

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Now you see me!

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Now you don’t!

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But most of the Alligators that I saw were right alongside the walking/biking trails below, just 4-5 feet from you!

The walking/biking trails above….

And the Alligators sunning and napping alongside those trails are below.

 

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Are you ready for some close-ups??

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This fella needs sunscreen!

 

I always felt safe to walk on by the Alligators along the trails.  I was also taking photos with my 70-200mm lens, so rest-assured I was not real close to them.  Those that had opened eyes acted as if they could have cared less about anyone; they didn’t bat an eye or flinch.  The very small ones would run to the water and disappear.

Yes, both days I did feel safe……up until my way out of Taylor Creek when I encountered the fella on the left in the next photo.

 

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This Alligator was fully awake.  I stopped and watched him.  He never moved, only his bulky throat heaved in and out.  Yikes!  First, I fired a few shots from a distance.  Then I walked far to the left of the trail, paying attention there weren’t any on that side of the trail, snapped a face frontal, then quickly kept going.  Of course, I was looking over my shoulder the whole time.  After getting well past him, he still didn’t hadn’t moved.  I bet he chuckled as I hurried past…..

Here’s his close-ups…..

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How’d you like that walk on the wild side of Florida??!!!!  I hope you didn’t read this post late at night before going to bed……

Back to birds with my next post, promise!   🙂

 

 

 

39 thoughts on “See You Later, Alligator

  1. Really great shots of the gators Donna! I love the different poses you caught them in. You got much closer than we could with our salt water crocs, as they can run fast. Another exciting experience in your Florida discovery tour:-)

      • If gators are like crocs maintaining safe body temperature will be a critical pastime for them, thus they need to stay near water so they can slide in and out to control their bodies thermostat.

  2. Terrific images of the alligators! My brother who lives in South Carolina occasionally has a run in with one that’s belligerent and won’t let any one pass, but that’s rare. What I’d be more worried about than the gators are the snakes, or shouldn’t I mention them?

    • I didn’t see any snakes, but you can bet I kept an eye out for them! My dad is from Georgia, as a kid, I stumbled upon rattlers and cottonmouths in my adventures on my grandfather’s farm, especially around the chicken coop. And my Uncle had an alligator he named “Alli”, it lived at one end of his pond; and my cousins & I swam at the other end. My cousins would say, just watch out for the cottonmouths. They didn’t worry about that gator. (But I did!) Today, I wouldn’t take a chance swimming in that pond!!

    • I must not have looked too appetizing! lol They supposedly get up to 4 feet long, but some of those pushed 5-6 feet! My daughter called while I was there one of the days and I was so excited telling her about the birds and gators. She thought I was crazy, she made me call her when I went back to the truck to let her know a gator didn’t get me. Hubby too. 🙂 There was no worries, it was really very safe.

  3. Awesome photos Donna! People always look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that my favorite animal is an alligator, considering I’m such a bird nerd. I certainly envy your hike on that trail!

    • Thanks! They really are quite interesting, so prehistoric-looking, I can understand them being your fave animal. They just need to be given the respect they deserve. My gosh, this trail is awesome, I hope to go there again today before the rains come tomorrow. 🙂

      • My love of birds started with a love of dinosaurs and they are just that, aren’t they? I hope you get to visit the trail again too! I’d love to see more photos!

  4. Oh My God! I couldn’t have walked there in any case 🙂 Brave you are. Beautiful photographs, and yes, I should say this they seem so lovely too 🙂 But in your photographs… Please be careful always… With camera you know we can lose ourselves… Thank you dear Donna, Love, nia

    • Oh, please be assured, Nia, I am super careful and safe. I was using my telephoto lens with a teleconverter, so I was at a very safe distance. The photos don’t show it well, but it is a steep sloop down to the water from the trails. There were a lot of walkers and bikers, and would you believe there was even someone in a motorized wheelchair doing the trails?!! You are right, we must be careful. Thanks Nia for your concerns, much appreciated! ❤ ❤ ❤

      • Good to know this dear Donna… Always they make me afraid and worry… You are welcome dear, maybe with you I could have take their pictures too 🙂 Have a nice day and new week, Thank you, Love & Hugs, nia

    • My photos really didn’t show the steep sloop from the trails to the water where they were. I was just commenting to Nia, there were quite a few walkers and bikers, even a person in a motorized wheelchair doing a loop. I did kind of worry about that person. It was stated to not provoke or feed the gators, and that they really fed at night, slept during the day. I guess Florida knows their gators. Main thing is to have respect for them and their environment. 🙂

  5. Well now, that was an adventure! Thanks for sharing – and I am glad you did not look like food! hugs

    • I was so hoping to see just one, and wow, I could not believe this was a ‘scenic trail’ to walk and bike. The gators were 4-5 feet down a steep slope, so it wasn’t like they could run up really fast. I imagine they see people everyday. And you know they laugh and chuckle at us scurrying past them. hee hee I thought of you and your Mr. A when I was there! 🙂

  6. Pingback: Taylor Creek Storm Water Treatment Center, Okeechobee, FL – Last of Series | Bay Photos by Donna

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