Friday, February 22, 2013

‘Gator Hunt

Recently Lou’s sister, Barbara, visited us for a fortnight. One of the activities that she always enjoys is going out in the boat and looking for alligators. This year we made three trips. Some days were very windy. A couple were too cool. (Notice that I said “cool” and not “cold”.)  Cool this time of year is in the low 60s.

We start our safari with camera woman, Lou, in the aft seat and spotter Tanzy at the prow. (Remember that clicking on a picture will provide you with an enlargement. Also use the back arrow to return to the blog. Thanks.)

Gator hunt start

Along the way we spot many interesting sights such as a Limpkin. These large birds, 26 inches tall, are quite common. Their song, if you can call it that, is a loud piercing wail. To me it sounds like a baby’s scream. This time of year they may wail all night long. Mating? Angry?


Another bird that we spotted is not uncommon but not usually seen especially during the late afternoon hours. It is a female Black-Crown Night-Heron. She sat very still as we maneuvered the boat for a better picture. I had to come home and check two books to be certain that we had the identification correct.

Black-Crowned Night-Heron Female

Enough birds for now. I will save the rarest for last. It is time to hunt the gators. I might state the the first trip we spotted 15. The second trip was 9 and the last 12. As soon as we got in the house after the last trip Lou looked out the window here came a 12 footer swimming around the bend toward our place. We decided not to add it to the count.



These pictures are not zoomed or cropped. I run the boat up close for the thrill of being within a few feet of one of these denizens.


Gator on land

Guess he doesn’t care for our company!

Gator Going

They can stay underwater a long time.


All of these pictures were taken on our third trip. We saw other birds such as the Moorhen or common gallinule, Great Blue herons on nest and flying, several other species of heron, Belted Kingfisher and such. However a new sighting for us was a the beginning of the ride. The bird stayed around until we returned. I identified it as a bird that I was not aware was in our area. See if you can guess what it is from these pictures. The bird was not the least bit afraid of us as it swam quite close several times as I made U-turns to get a better look and motored past very slowly.

DSC07945 DSC07948

Give up?

If you guessed a duck, you were incorrect.

How about a loon?

A Common Loon!

It does not have the coloration of the loons that I am used to seeing. This is the winter plumage for the loon. What a contrast to those seen in breeding summer feathers. (Look closely for the white eye ring.) We had never seen a loon in Florida before.

Lou did a great job with the camera! Thanks for looking. I appreciate your comments.


  1. Hey AL'n'UT,

    Mom told about all the gators, but she neglected to mention the birds. She said she had a great time with you guys. Katie and I look forward to seeing you guys soon.

  2. Sounds like you are having a great winter. When do you leave for the summer? We still need to get together.