Mama Gator

The small baby alligators of the Florida Everglades are wise to follow their instincts and stay close to their mother, even lying on top of her. Their small size and still tender hides make them vulnerable to a Great Blue Heron or even a male Alligator. I spotted about six babies close to this parent.

Baby alligators like to bask in the sun, lying on their mother for protection. Shark Valley, Everglades National Park, March 2018.

A 600mm lens allowed me to capture this close-up photograph, while standing about 15 feet away. It’s wise for humans to keep a safe distance away from this dangerous creature in the wild. While they lie still most of the time, when alligators are extremely quick when they attack.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama Gator. Good luck keeping your babies safe.

Singing “Mockingbird”

When my children were little, my husband and I lulled them to sleep with a rocking chair and our favorite lullabies.

“Hush, little baby, don’t say a word.
Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.”

Those memories are precious.

But I don’t think I have ever SEEN a mockingbird until recently on an early morning bird tour in Naples, Florida. This mockingbird stayed on the pine branch long enough for me to capture this photograph. Now I can SHOW my children (and my grandchildren!) a live mockingbird.

Grandparenting

When your little girl grows up and gets married and has a baby, some magical things happen. You get to hold a new baby again, and remember just how special that feels.

#baby, #newborn, #grandparent, #tiny, #toes, #feet
My grandson’s tiny toes.

You can comfort them when they cry, and tell them they are safe and sound in your arms. While you hold them, you wonder what their future will be.

You will fall in love and hope you live a long time to watch them grow.

Anhinga Chicks

On January 9, 2018 the first of three anhinga chicks emerged from their eggs at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.   The Sanctuary is not a zoo where humans take care of the animals. It’s a boardwalk through a cypress swamp teeming with birds and alligators, ferns and cypress, frogs and snakes — where nature lovers can walk and watch during the day. I visited the site on February 11, 2018 to discover the one month old anhinga chicks so grown up!

#anhinga, #chicks, #baby, #conrkscrew, #swamp, #florida, #birds
Having just emerged from their nest but not able to fly, three young anhingas await their next meal.

#anhinga, #baby, #onemonthold, #bird, #florida, #corkscrew
Stretching out its wings and its neck, this young anhinga shows us its new black feathers. It stands about a foot tall from beak to tail, at the age of one month.

#anhinga, #adult, #black, #neck, #mother, #bird, #florida, #corkscrew
Could this be the anhinga mother? This female landed on the branch below the chicks. You can see all the black feathers on her wings and tail. She stretches her neck around backwards to check her tail feathers.

The Anhinga is frequently seen drying out its feathers like this in the sun after swimming underwater to hunt for fish. Because of its long neck, it is often called the snake bird. The male birds are all black with some white streaks, while the females have a brown neck and belly and all black feathers. Anhingas are very common in Southwest Florida, and they are not generally afraid of people. You can walk right past one without scaring it away. Having a good look at the young, however, is pretty special.

“Feed me, Mama!”

Three young osprey were chirping up a storm, while Mama took a bath in nearby tidal waters and then dried her feathers while perched atop a nearby tree. Finally, Mama Osprey came to the rescue and landed on the nest.

#osprey, #nest, #babies, #cry, #chirp, #hungry, #pelicanbay, #naples, #florida, #wildlife, #birds, #nature
Mother osprey answers the hunger cries of her three babies, landing on the nest at Pelican Bay’s South Beach in Naples, Florida.

With a shutter speed of 1/1000 second, my Nikon D800 froze the action as Mama Osprey landed on her young.