It may sound unAmerican, but I detest the 4th of July celebration. The whole thing is based on lies and a noisy affair, but enough of politics.
This year I sat out the holiday on my bed as I’ve been in the midst of a physical detox, with a variety of symptoms of which I won’t bore you. I wasn’t up to being around a lot of drunk and noisy celebrants. I would really rather be high in the mountains far, far away from fireworks and noise, but Florida marshes will have to fit the bill right now… on the morning after.
Still feeling a bit wobbly, I still managed to get out for a bird walk… or walk with the birds. I’ve been visiting the same preserves so frequently I’m beginning to recognize some of the other walkers / photographers. There are also some older folks who haunt the place, walking slowly or quickly depending on their physical condition. It seemed that people were much friendlier this morning or I was just being delirious…. I have a low-grade fever.
Watched an alligator slap the water and yawn or snap jaw quite loudly. Then she swam under the boardwalk. It is always a treat to see one of these beasties from a safe distance:
They’re very good swimmers, using that thick tail as an efficient rudder. They use their legs like arms, doing a kind of gator paddle or if the water is shallow, the gator crawls along the bottom.
This isn’t even a big gator, more medium-sized. I think it is the same female that I saw earlier this spring near the gator babies. Her body is about 4 feet in length and very strong. There is at least one male who is nearly twice her size. And one of the local naturalists told me there are about ten gators in just this preserve, although I’ve never seen more than three or four in a visit. Several of the ponds are out-of-bounds to the public so the birds and gators have lots of places to swim, eat and hide.
I had several posers today, birds who perch on top the railing and don’t seem to mind my presence…
There were some male Great Blue Herons that seemed to be making a great flourish with their feathers… at least the one above did until another bird sent it on its way with a flash of wings and a loud squawk.
The water levels have been significantly lowered, allowing the wading birds with more opportunities to catch their tiny minnow prey for lunch. Some egrets in on the game above… very intent on hunting.
Watching nature being natural is always a joy and fascination, even when I’m not feeling so well. Anyway, wanted to share some of these photos with you. That’s MY way of celebrating life.
All Rights Reserved, Eliza Ayres, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com