Saturday, January 31, 2015

Never a Boring Bike Ride!

Off again on the bike, Sparky goes late in the day....Down I-70 along the sidewalk about three miles, turning right at River Club Blvd., which takes you all the way down and out into Lakewood Ranch, that beautiful residential community with all the wetlands, ponds and bird life....On the way through River Club subdivision, Sparky spots a spoonbill & company....

The spoonbill is wary, but stays put......
Looks like he's talking to the others, doesn't he?
"Hey, fellas....How's the eatin'?
On through more of the beautiful roadway and ponds through the subdivision and back out on the main boulevard.....Woodstorks! Lots of them.....They are still on the endangered list, but there are plenty of them here in the Sarasota/Bradenton area.....This one looks OLD! His grizzly head, grey feathers, but he looks wise....He's wise to Sparky, he starts walking away.....
Sparky stopped by a pond to see a heron and great white egret preening and fishing. They are such big, beautiful birds...You can see why their plumage was so valued back in the day.
This one had an itch....

A moorhen swimming around in a maze of rushes....Loved the patterns of the plants' reflections....

An anhinga up in a tree squawked and warned everybody at the pond that Sparky was there...
And then, Sparky saw a fairly good size alligator on the far side of the pond, slide into the water with a great big SPLASH and head across to the other side, the side that she was standing on. Sparky wasn't worried....Gators normally head into the water when they see someone coming. Besides, Sparky saw two big carp or catfish, and thought maybe the gator was heading for them.
The gator kept coming, closer and closer to the shore, and it was evident that he was NOT interested in the fish. He definitely was watching Sparky.
She was standing on the high bank right above him...She looked around for options just in case he decided to come out of the water. There was a set of three small trees right beside her. That was good enough for her. She really didn't think he was going to come out of the water until she saw his forefront legs starting to pull himself up to the bank. At that point, she was about two feet from the water's edge, so she backed off and went to the trees, waiting to see if he came out any further. He didn't. But he would have been right there at her feet had she stayed there. So she went to the sidewalk which was three feet further out from the bank, gave his resting spot a wide berth and slowly came up behind him, but not too close. She used the camera zoom to get this photo....

She decided it was probably a good time to leave.....Sparky thought this behavior was bold for an alligator, as many times as she has seen them. They NEVER have come toward her and as close as this one did. Perhaps this one might have not eaten for awhile and was just checking things out. Who knows? Sparky lacks a fear of alligators which is probably not a good thing. (SIGH! says an exasperated Eldo. I keep telling her, YOU DON'T HAVE TO GET SO CLOSE! Does she listen? NOPE! She actually texted me and said she was three feet from a big alligator!) But Sparky kept a close eye on the riverbank and didn't turn her back as she hopped back on her bike to head home. Guess the lack of fear comes from biking the Shark Valley Nature Trail in the Everglades where the gators were sunning themselves less than two feet from our bikes as we rode down the trail, counting ten gators or more that time, their heads pointed AT the bikes, not the other way!

It was another great ride in Paradise today.....  :-)

3 comments:

  1. Too much fun there and another great adventure.

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  2. I had hoped to see a spoonbill or two while in Florida, but no such luck. Thats OK, we have had a really good time. Now we have a god reson to come back in 2016-17. See you then.

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  3. I don't get as many critters to see on my bike rides :) Lucky you to be able to see so many!

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