Saturday, August 31, 2013

There's a Gator in the Yard! Or Neighborhood Nature Walk

Call the "Gator Boys", Eldy! There's a gator in the yard! The community yard, that is, in the pond that is in front of the condos a half a block down the street. Since our backyard is on the golf course, and we really don't have much of a backyard, just a few feet before we are on the Tara golf course, we probably won't ever see a gator in OUR backyard. But never say never...

Every day, Sparky looks for the neighborhood gator when driving to and from the Publix grocery, which is just five minutes from our house. She has seen this gator several times sunning himself on the grass right by the golf course. (Sparky has this thing about gators, can you tell? asks E.) If she sees the gator, she goes home, hops on the bike, rides like hell to get back as quickly as possible and brings the BIG camera, the one that has a 55-200 mm lens on it. She knows she can't get anywhere near the gator or he'll skedaddle into the water, lickety split.  How does she know that? Because just when she gets back to take his photo, some golfers usually come up on the course, and SWOOSH! He's gone.....And why doesn't she make it a habit to carry the big camera in the car to catch him when she sees him the first time? Because she doesn't want anybody breaking in the car and stealing the camera. There's always the iPhone, but this little gator is too shy to get a good photo with the iphone.
Sparky managed to sneak around the pond today and come up on him on the hill up high. As soon as he saw me come over the hill, SWOOSH! Gone! Boy, can they move FAST! He watched Sparky from the water....

The birds are used to Sparky...
"Here comes that woman agin. She's here almost every day."
"I know, don't look now, but she's here....Maybe she'll get the gator's photo instead of us."
"Too late..sigh...."

The gator is NOT used to people.  Shy and skittish....It's a young one, really not very big. He's more scared of people than people are of him. Floridians are used to gators. They won't bother you if you don't feed them or get too close! Hopefully, no one else has fed the gator you are looking at, or he might associate you with food and come to get some from you! Sparky had her bike to make a fast getaway just in case. Never mind that it was WAY over on the other side of the pond.

Speaking of gators, we went over to Myakka River State Park the other day to look for them on the bridge just after you come into the park. Sparky had first entertained the idea of hiking to the Deep Hole, which is a two mile hike in and a two mile hike back out, to see the hundreds of gators that gather there. After the ranger told her it was extremely muddy and that you would be walking in waist high water the last part of the way to the Deep Hole, Sparky, said, well, maybe another time. The ranger said try in the fall when things have dried up a bit. Guess it was because the Myakka River was almost at flood stage. No gators, no birds, no wildlife to be seen, just lots and lots of water. Some of the campgrounds were flooded, the land on each side of the main road was flooded right up to the edge of the road. We were going to do the Canopy Walk with the cool suspension bridge and the fantastic tower that overlooks the park, but decided we didn't have the right footgear to slosh through the mud and flood. Besides, there were probably LOTS of snakes slithering around in that muck and marsh. So we went to the bird boardwalk and observation deck, and again, no birds. The water was right up to the boardwalk...

We would NOT want to stay in the one campground we saw open with all that standing water around. Bet the mosquitoes are ferocious!

It was a beautiful, although very hot day in the 90's...We saw some beautiful purple marsh flowers, and OH! Almost forgot! We saw a BIG wild boar! Instead of catching the boar through the open car window with the long lens, Sparky decided to get out and get a little closer. The boar heard and saw her coming and ambled off into the deep mucky woods...Bye, bye, boar...

Gonna try getting some photos of dolphins in the next couple of days...No luck with baby turtles, no luck with gators in the park, no boars, no spoonbills lately, time to cycle back to the dolphins on Anna Maria Island. It's snook fishing season, maybe Sparky will have better luck catching a fish or dolphin photo...Bye for now......


  1. Nice shot of the Gator, you will see more when you least expect them.
    Just keep you eyes open.

  2. Try not to call the gator guys. Many times they destroy the gator.

  3. Those were great photos of the gator. Very unusual to see them with their mouths open like that. It's good the gator is afraid. That means they haven't been fed and that means they will live.

  4. Nice gator pictures! I want to see one and I am sure we will when we're down there.

  5. I took a cooking class in New Orleans. . .the instructor told us she had a gator in the bayou behind her house, and they are like stray dogs. . .ya feed them. . .they keep comin' back!

    I hope, like you, that no one's feedin' it. . .

    The motto for the Colorado Bear is. . .a fed Bear is a dead Bear. . .I'm sure it's pretty much the same for the gators. . .right?

  6. You really saw a wild boar? Too bad you couldn't get a picture to prove it LOL

  7. It's fun to hear about the new adventures you are having in your neighborhood. No way would I trudge through that bog in Myakka. A visit to Anna Maria Island sounds like a much better plan.