The movement was subtle, especially for a 15 foot Alligator. I’m guessing on the length–I could just say very long. This fellow was swimming quietly, but covering some distance.
He had places to go and wasn’t wasting any time getting there, swimming in a straight line from where I first spotted the movement towards an island where the Alligators often lounge at the edge of the water. And watch for wading birds to land or chicks to fall.
With the length of his back out of the water and a tree for reference you can see just how big
I didn’t see the second one until I was looking at the photos later. Tucked under the branches on the left, he didn’t move as the older and much larger beast went by.
The turtles are the most likely to be seen sharing space with other creatures around the swamp and ponds. They crave the sun just like the alligators on this reptile ramp and don’t show any fear in the presence of an alligator that could easily eat them.
Wading birds like this Great Egret like a sunny spot, too, and easily find a spot in between the turtles on a nearby ramp.
I don’t know what this “foot in the air” display from the turtle just to the right of the egret is all about, but a little further along in another small pond I saw it again, with both hind feet straight out.
There aren’t many wading birds around my favorite swamp right now but I still like to walk around it at least once a week and I always see something. Sunday it was reptiles. We have had some cold weather but Sunday was in the low 70s (about 21 degrees C) and turtles, lizards and alligators were out soaking up the sun.
Turtles were crawling out of the water. They often just move onto the bank of the swamp making it easy to retreat. This one was more ambitious and got a completely dry spot.
The Brown Anole did a nice job selecting his wooden perch for camouflage and full sun. When I passed he disappeared down a crack in the middle of this dead stump.
The Alligators care little about being seen. Usually they can sink and swim many feet away in seconds if they feel the need to escape. The dead tree limbs this one was in between might have slowed him down if a real predator was after him. He was content with this spot; he hadn’t moved when I returned by him twenty minutes later.
I counted at least six young Alligators hanging out with their mother. They were being very still and and the mother was under the water when I passed by going along the edge of the pond. When I returned a few minutes later I heard the tell tell “mewing” sound of one of the young calling.
Standing still for a few minutes I started to see them move around and the mother rose to a protective position. They were about 12 inches long and sometimes their heads bobbed out of the water and other times you could just see their tails switching the duckweed around.
It was almost sundown and time for them to be settling in for the night.
Everybody had a spot, at least for a minute. The younger Alligators shift around more than the big adults, maybe because they are used to getting pushed off the platform by their elders. Or a big turtle.
At the other end of the pond I found another pair posing, being watched by a third in the water.
This is the first group seen from the side, with a yet another Alligator climbing on the ramp for a spot in the sun. The duck weed was clinging to them all.