Way at the back of the pond, under an overhang of trees a young Alligator assumed a pose I more often associate with sun bathing. We’ve had some warm days, but it is still winter and the water remains cold.
The majority of the water has been let out of one of the rice field ponds at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in advance of some repairs to be made on the back dike. This has left a mud flat that is very attractive to the wading birds.
From a distance I thought the other creature was a stick but I could clearly see the eyes of a small Alligator as I got closer.
The last image is focused on the Alligator, that was content to hold that spot while the Tricolored Heron hunted behind him.
The rice field impoundments and canals were busy last Saturday morning including a Bald Eagle that was scooping up fish. There had been a die-off over night, likely due to a sudden temperature drop to near freezing.
The Great Egrets went about their business without any fuss.
I was quite a distance from the action but it was cool to see a few Eagles swooping over the Great Egrets and Alligators.
These images were taken in a section of the wildlife management area that I don’t visit often. Until recently you had to climb over fallen trees to get there and the dike is lower, which puts the photographer closer to the water which is good and bad.
Getting a lower prospective and Alligator reflection is good. Being closer to unseen Alligators can scare the &#!% out of a photographer if they move!
Being lower also means less breeze, which much of the year means more mosquitoes. Last week was cooler so there wasn’t much insect activity.
This White Ibis was enjoying the sun and along came a Little Blue Heron.
The Little Blue Heron slowly encroached on the Ibis’ space.
Or, let sleeping Alligators lie.
A view from a little further back showing off the swamp sunflowers that were in bloom throughout October:
This was the coolest morning we’ve had since spring, just below 60 F (15 C) and the other Alligators I had seen were fully in the water with just their noses sticking out. This fellow was boldly more exposed, perhaps feeling some warmth from the sun’s first rays.
I wondered if this young Alligator felt he was hidden by the small clump of grass around his head.
Wading birds and alligators gathered along this marsh inlet as the tide was going out.
The Snowy Egrets changed position frequently, they seem happiest when flapping around. The other egrets and herons tended to stick to their claimed spot, even as the alligators passed by.
Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, and White Ibis shared the banks.
I’ve documented this scenario before, but still find it interesting to watch unfold.
Alligator 1 is minding his own business having a snooze.
Alligator 2 would like a turn in the sun and just kept pushing.
There was no altercation, just a final nudge, and Alligator 1 went over the side.
Since the juveniles have fledged most of the Great Egret activity at my favorite swamp has been on the far side of the big pond. The water is a little shallower for hunting and I expect harbors a lot of fish. The Alligators, of course, go all over. I didn’t see this one in the Egret’s reflection until I was processing my images.
The distance is too far for really sharp images, but some days that’s all you see. The Great Egret wisely kept moving and then flew over a juvenile Little Blue Heron.
He finally touched down with a flourish surrounded by lush green swamp vegetation.