This is one of the short white bridges at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, as opposed to the “Long White Bridge” where tourists and brides pose for photographs. Around the corner on the same pond and much less visited. Except by the wildlife.
While I was watching the Bard Owl of yesterday’s post an Alligator thrashed around at the edge of the pond then swam very deliberately out to the middle of the pond.
He negotiated around a few Cypress knees, made a U-turn and stopped directly underneath the owl, that was on a branch about 20 feet (6 meters) above the water.
If he was hoping the Barred Owl would swoop down he was disappointed. The Owl was very aware of the Alligator’s presence. After ten or fifteen minutes the Alligator swam back where he came from, climbed out of the water and disappeared.
Twisted twigs from an old vine and a small drape of Spanish Moss made a fanciful scene for a passing Carolina Anole. He showed off his red dewlap as he marched up the branch.
I know, it is still a snake. I’ve never been a fan, but am becoming more accustomed to them. I spotted this one at Beidler Forest working his way along a rotting log.
I don’t study the educational signs with the ID info about snakes, but do know that the round eyes and round head are signs this one is harmless.
The snake slowly checked out the crevices in the log and showed no interest in me watching him
Plus, I was on a boardwalk at least ten feet away.
This is probably a Carolina Anole, due to the bright green color. They have the ability to change to a duller green or brown, depending on the temperature and their environment.
This one is shedding his skin, which is brought on by growth: like other reptiles their skin doesn’t grow with them.
Anoles become less active when going through the shedding process and this one picked a dangerous spot at the edge of the swamp to just hang out. He would easily be seen by a passing bird who could snatch him up for lunch. I left before that happened.
After the bigger fellow from my post Alligator Coming Up got settled I turned my head to watch an Egret and the little gator bailed off into the water. I watched him swim around the ramp and then he took at turn at climbing up.
He made a huge effort, flailing his front and back legs around.
I can do it!
Almost there, just need to get that back leg a little higher!
And then he lost his grip.
Notice that the bigger Alligator never moved during all this action.
Down, down, down into the water he went.
Or… Is This My Best Side?
The dike bank curves a bit so I was able to get views from a couple of angles.
And the head shot, with just a bit of tooth showing.
A few Great Egrets were swooping over the pond as they vied for mates or nesting spots in the nearby trees.
Some were gathering sticks for their nests but they were easily distracted when another Great Egret invaded their space.
Occasionally I’ve seen a large Alligator snap at a bird flying overhead without making contact, but these smallish Alligators and turtles ignored the aerial displays going on above them.
He was just hanging out there, looking around and displaying just how flexible they are.
Even though it is winter, with some nights down to and below freezing temperatures, many Alligators are still out and about during the day around the swamp.
Supposedly they don’t eat it when it is cold, their metabolism slowing in a process called brumation.
I still want to keep my distance.