Sunday, May 22, 2016

Reptile Love!

We spent the second leg of our Florida/Georgia trip at Three Rivers State Park right on the Florida/Georgia border. The park is located on the shore of the man-made Lake Seminole which is a nice impoundment that has created a lot of deep water habitat for all manner of freshwater flora and fauna.

While you can boat and kayak and fish in the lake, it is actually unsafe for swimming. This is because of the hefty populations of large alligators who live there, and for the danger of infection from a particular nasty amoebic infection that has been reported (rarely, thank goodness) from exposure to the those who have gone swimming there.

The one thing about this trip to Florida is that we did not encounter much in the way of wildlife. I'm not sure why this was, but I suspect the spring flooding of the Suwannee River drainage system likely contributed to this. Normally we see plenty of wildlife down there, but reliable animals such as raccoons, armadillos, white-tailed deer, hawks, owls, ibises, woodpeckers, and other creatures were in very short supply.

However, I did see a number of large alligators in Lake Seminole just off the boat ramp not far from our campsite. In the late afternoon I spotted one alligator that seemed to be very gradually creeping up on the near shore from a point on the opposite side of the channel. It was hard to get photos because she was so far out, and I have never been happy with the quality of photos that I get with my telephoto lens.

After a while I noticed that she seemed to be switching position. And then I realized that I was seeing two alligators. Then, in a while, I recalled that it is getting close to mating season for alligators when the males will take to roaring and vibrating their bodies to create enough of a bass-line to attract the opposite sex. What I was seeing was a female alligator taking the measure of the tolerance level she night expect from a large male who was hovering around the near side of the lake. Better safe than sorry, I expect.

At any rate, here are a few that I managed to take (not good ones, I'm afraid) of the near encounter of a female gator and her bashful target.

This was our campsite at Three Rivers State Park. Nice and quiet even when the campground filled up on the weekend.

Lake Seminole. Kayakers and Canoers make the turn around an island.

A medium sized gator was sliding carefully across the lake.

And then I noticed that there were two!

When your prospective mate is an armored, territorial grouch, you approach with care.

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