It was a morning for Great Blue Herons to stay tucked into the grass, not quite hiding. In this first image the heron is standing in a tidal creek, the sun had just come up but was behind a low bank of clouds.
The second one I spotted was on the edge of a canal around one of the old rice fields.
A little later on the sun became brighter, highlighting the change in color in the grass around this pond from green to autumn browns and golds. Wading birds often gather on the edges of these hillocks of marsh grass, uncaring about the passing Alligators.
Donnelley Wildlife Management Area
October 2, 2020
A mother Alligator will stay around her young for two to three years; the juveniles are on their own to eat but she will ward off predators. They often can be seen piled on each other, probably to control temperature and some sense of protection when they are very young.
They all appeared to be ignoring us but you can see the “king of the hill” opened his eyes between my first and second shots.
You can easily pick out five juveniles above, there were three or four down by momma’s tail, and I’m sure more we couldn’t see in the grass.
Just based on my observations I’d say these are around six months old.
I heard this young Alligator chirping at the edge of a duckweed covered pond. I’ve seen juveniles in this area off and on over the summer and suspect they are now around six months old and about 2 feet (60 cm) long.
From there he headed out into the pond, using his full body and tail to propel forward. I didn’t hear any more chirping and didn’t see any siblings. Or mama.
Then he made a 90 degree turn.
Finally he straightened out and headed for the other side of the pond, leaving a squiggly trail in the thick duckweed behind him.