Just where do you go to see alligators? Most people would say, to Florida. The photo
here is one my husband took just the other day, and yes, it was in Florida. Oftentimes people arrange for tours to see alligators, only to find none. We made a trip to Myakka River State Park, near Sarasota, where a visitor is practically guaranteed to see one or more. The day we went alligator hunting, the many humps seen floating in the river were alligators and others were sunning themselves along the shore. So, let’s get back to the alligator photo. It was taken from the park’s air-boat. We were a safe distance from it and from the looks of him, I’m certainly glad we were. Our guide said that alligators do not eat until night time. It could be that’s why the the park closes at sunset. However, it was broad daylight and the alligator seemed terribly agitated about something. (Maybe the cause was indigestion from the night before.) What appears to be curls on the top of his head we decided must be mud. If you’ve always thought alligators were beautiful, don’t let this photo change your mind. It just doesn’t do him justice.
For someone prejudice to the beautiful hills and mountains of PA, like myself, Florida just doesn’t cut it. Except for the great improvement in its winter weather, its native flora has no comparison. But then, the Pennsylvania flora wouldn’t grow here where it is toasty warm so much of the time. Myakka River State Park is one of Florida’s oldest and largest state parks and the river flows through 57 square miles of wetlands and prairies. I must confess that its marshes, interspersed with pine flat-woods and hammocks are beautiful. The park offers fishing, camping, and wildlife observation from its popular bird-walk and observation deck. Don’t come to this park without your binoculars because you may even spot the rare Roseate Spoonbill, sometimes found here.
As we walked the bird-walk, we met a trio of friends who were excited about seeing
immature eagles through their binoculars. As the birds took off, the expanse of their wings was as impressive as eagles, however missing were their white heads which, we learned, are not colored until maturity. Our new acquaintances’ frequent visits to the Park did not cool their enthusiasm for what they saw. No, and there was something else that these new-found friends were excited about. From them we learned that there is more than forty reported active eagles’ nests in Sarasota. And the amazing thing about this is that a person may look up the locations of these nests on the internet. I did. I typed in “eagles in Sarasota” and their nest locations are listed. One of the women we talked with was watching closely the progress in one of these nests. We learned, too, that the eagles favored what at one time was the celery fields of Sarasota, less than a mile from our RV park. So another day, we’ll pack up our binoculars and make our way there.
On a stroll through our park, we stopped momentarily to allow a long legged, white egret cross the road in front of us. It’s in-and-out head motion with each step of its backward jointed knees, made us laugh. All in one day, we’d seen a curly headed alligator and a disjointed bird. Only in Florida, we thought!