Birds, Turtles and Alligators…Oh My

The water was alive. There was no other way to describe it. The surface was in constant motion. Fish jumped, others bubbled and gulped at the surface and gars cruised just under the tea colored surface.

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Birds filled the trees. All kinds of birds. There were anhinga, egrets, herons, Great Blue, Great White, Tri Color, Night Herons.

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The little birds with the red face were everywhere.

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I could see turtles piled on the banks or swimming.

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But the alligators were the star attractions. The sidewalk ran along side the water and the gators were hauled out sunning themselves…everywhere! They didn’t seem to pay any attention to the people walking by.

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Gators, being cold-blooded, need the heat and sun to build up their energy supplies. They also can’t digest their meals without the sun. If they can’t get warm their last meal can end up rotting inside them and kill them instead of releasing life supporting nutrients.

There was so much to see and I hadn’t even left the parking area!

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The information center is located on a wooden observation deck that juts out over the water. From this vantage point I could see so much going on. I felt like I didn’t need to go anywhere else.

While I stood watching a small gator came swimming down the water channel.

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Almost immediately a large gator pushed himself into the water and began making a bee line for the smaller one. My first thought was  male/ female but my second was that the big gator might have been being territorial. I waited to see what would happen.

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The small gator picked up speed but the large guy stayed right on its tail until it seemed to pass an invisible boundary. At that point the big gator turned around and came back to his spot on the bank and the little gator continued on its way. My conclusion… territorial behavior and since the small one kept going it eventually left Big Guy’s turf.

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I stayed on the deck watching the action until almost 11:00. I had a ticket for the 11:00 Tram ride. After that I planned to explore some of the trails.

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