Journal Entry 11 October, 2017 – Gators be there!

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Journal Entry 11 October 2017 – Gators be There!

Despite some huge fluffy clouds overhead, I drove to my favorite wetlands for some nice walking and photography.

Wakodahatchee is nearly empty these days as most of the birds have completed their nesting cycles.  I noticed that some of the smaller songbirds are now showing up in the hammocks, although photographing them with my camera is almost impossible given the fact the birds hop around from branch to branch.

There was a large alligator paused in mid-swim with its nose to a clump of marsh plants.  These armored beasts are very big and powerful.  Swimming in the dark waters of Florida’s marshes and ponds is not advisable due to their presence.

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I saw a couple of Great Blue Herons, although it could have been the same one flying around trying to get me to take a photo of it, lol!

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Few other birds were present at Wakodahatchee except some Anhingas, marsh hen, some gallinules and a couple of ducks.

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After completing the mile-long boardwalk, I drove over to Green Cay.  There I spied a Roseate Spoonbill perched on one of the dead trees, along with a flock of white ibis all gaily gathered to scoop up whatever tidbits the muddy bottom could offer them.  I saw a brightly plumaged Northern Cardinal hopping about through a bit of oak hammock.  Then a brief tropical shower sent a few of us scurrying under the cover of one of the periodic shelters.  There was a group of bright-eyed children gathered there listening to a park volunteer talk about the local birds and alligators.

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When the rain shower let up, I continued my walk and found a few more birds.  Then I heard a deep series of growls and laughed.  One woman near me looked puzzled.  I explained it was a gator although we couldn’t see the beast due to the tall marsh grasses.  Continuing on I saw an elderly man leaning on the boardwalk looking intently into the dark waters below.  He pointed out another gator who was taking a brief break from its swim.

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Then, as I approached the Nature Center, I saw the group of children once again, all leaning out over the railing, gesturing and calling.  It was yet another gator, a smaller one, cruising towards the pilings under the large building.  Such excitement and rewards make these walks fun for me to do.  Even though I’ve been coming to the wetlands since I moved to this area, I always discover something new to watch, listen to or photograph.  And I’ve been such a regular that other walkers also recognize me.

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On the way out I saw two women leaning over the boardwalk, aiming their large expensive cameras as they were attempting to capture photos of the butterflies flitting around the butterfly garden.  The flowers of the native plants are coming on strong.  I noticed even a flush of new leaves on the Crape Myrtles, as well as on many other plants and trees.  Nature is recuperating nicely after the great storm Irma.

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Namasté,

Eliza Ayres

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