In Memory of my Friend

Yesterday I received very sad news that my dear friend Cheryl Wilson, age 64, had died on February 10. I have so many happy memories of Cheryl, and I will never understand why she left us so young. I will have to speak to her words of comfort in my prayers.

Cheryl was a talented designer who understood color, scale, harmony and simplicity. She had a contagious laugh, was quick to empathize, and was always ready to help. She understood people well and every day made the world a better place. I will miss her very much.

I am posting this sunset image in her memory with love and heartfelt sorrow. I pray that God brings peace to Cheryl, her family and friends.

Hot Blue Heron

You know it’s a very hot day in the Everglades when the Blue Heron is panting. I had never before seen a blue heron open its mouth and flutter its tongue. Its neck was undulating too, and it was making sounds. I took a video, so I could ask the National Park ranger about it. Sure enough, the ranger said that the blue heron pants like a dog when it needs to cool off.

Great Blue Heron panting to cool off at Shark Valley in Everglades National Park, Florida.

Which Gator Ate the Python?

When I biked the trail in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park yesterday, I saw more large alligators than I could begin to count. Which one, I wondered, ate the huge Burmese Python (a problematic invasive species) recently?

When I spotted this enormous alligator, I had a suspect. His belly looks very full, and it looks like he may be resting while the large meal digests. He looks mighty enough to have taken on the python and won the battle, don’t you think?

I took this photo with a 200mm Nikon lens from about 15 feet away, and I did not linger. The image is also cropped, making it appear that I was closer than I actually was. Alligators are dangerous, and they move very fast when they attack.
Here is a second image of this massive alligator in Shark Valley, part of Everglades National Park. He appears to be resting after a recent meal.

Behind the Hazard Line

The birds have the golf course to themselves early in the morning as the sun rises and begins to dry the dew. This Great Blue Heron was enjoying the tranquility at sunrise at Royal Poinciana Golf Club.

Standing on one leg, the Great Blue Heron managed to scratch an itchy spot under its chin. Great balance!

As our birding guide Brian Beckner observed, “there is a Great Blue Heron observing the hazard line” — the red line in the grass. No one wants you to address your golf ball too close to the water’s edge, as there are alligators lurking in there. It’s better to stand a safer distance from the water.