Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cypress Trees

These cypress trees stand in the shallows of a lake near Wilmington, North Carolina.  They are beautiful, but a little far away.  In this late November shot, you can see that they are already bare.
Cypress Trees in North Carolina

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Do Alligators Shrink on Cold Days?

On a cold day, you don't really expect to see alligators.  But, we saw this little gator near Orton Plantation in North Carolina on the day after Thanksgiving.  It was a fairly cool day, but he seemed to enjoy the sun.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Inside the Swamp: Beauty in the Small Details

The Swamp is a beautiful place.  In St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, you can see grand vistas looking across vast marshlands or forests or the sun setting on the Gulf of Mexico.  But, you can also see beauty in the very small details.  Details like this lone flower in among the lily pads.

Lone Flower in the Lily Pads

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Florida Softshell Turtle in a Private Moment

When you visit St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, you are visiting the animals in their home.  You sometimes catch them in their private moments.  At least, the sometimes choose to have their private moments right by the road in front of God and everybody.  This Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox) has either discovered a high fiber cereal like Kashi or is laying eggs in a depression on the side of Lighthouse Road.  These turtles are almost entirely aquatic, but they emerge from the water to bask or lay eggs.

Florida Softshell Turtle at St. Marks NWR

Sunday, October 7, 2012

All along the watch tower in St. Marks NWR

If you go all the way down light house road in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, you'll find the lighthouse and a little observation tower.  It's a cool place to catch a breeze, watch a sunset, or look down on the canal running though the nearby impoundment and marsh.  It's also a good place to take the dog.  He won't get eaten and he won't try to eat anybody when he's up in the tower.

Observation Tower at St. Marks NWR

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Slow Down for Alligators!

When we visit St. Marks we typically drive slowly down the Lighthouse Road looking for wildlife and pulling over when photo opportunities are available.  It's a comfortable way to see the swamp and all of its creatures without putting snake averse members of the family in jeopardy.  But, people have to slow down!  Critters have a right to cross the road in peace!

Here's a Coyote we saw at St. Marks NWR
Unfortunately, this coyote was hit and killed by a car a few days later.  It was sad to drive by his carcass.

Alligator by Lighthouse Road in St. Marks
Of course, I think this huge alligator might leave your car by the side of the road.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Alligators Near North Carolina's Orton Plantation

You don't have to visit Florida to see alligators.  You can find plenty of alligators in North Carolina.  Here is a video that I took near Orton Plantation, a historic site just outside of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Alligators Near Wilmington, North Carolina

Since these alligators may be fed by locals, you are well advised to keep a safe distance from them. But, they are cool to see!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Favorite Swamp - St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge

My favorite alligator habitat is St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge.  It lies along the Gulf Coast just south of Tallahassee, Florida, and it is one of the best places in the eastern United States for viewing birds and wildlife.  It's also has magical sunsets!

Sunset at St. Marks NWR

If you'd like to take a virtual tour, check out my slideshow here:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

When it comes to Alligators: Don't Stand So Close To Me!

Men are from Mars.  Women are from Venus.  Alligators are from 75 million years ago.  They have a brain the size of a walnut.  When they lie in the sun, they don't appear to be doing much.  But, they are doing something.  They are waiting for you.  They want you to get just a little closer.  Alligators are ambush predators.  So, when you see them, show them a little respect and keep your distance.

Alligator at St. Marks NWR

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Welcome to the Gator's Den!

Welcome to the Gator's Den! Throughout my life I've enjoyed visits to Okeefenokee Swamp, St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Paynes Prairie, and other alligator habitats.  Through this blog, I get to share a bit of what I've learned over the years!

Coming Home in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge