“A wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard...
Why can't we all be like that bird?”
― Edward Hersey Richards




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There's Something Happening Here...

What it is ain't exactly clear...
[but soon will be, read on]

I think it's time we stop, Bud, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's going down...

Like Buffalo Springfield's recording, there soon WAS something happening here. But wait...

It started out hot and sultry. The sky once again promised no rain.


As Bud and I drove to the islands along the park highway, we most always spot white tailed hawks and an occasional caracara. We were hoping there'd be some relief to the oppressive heat wave Tuesday. Didn't happen. But we remained at the birding centers for a while before returning back home to the continual hum of the air conditioner. Anyway, our first stop was Charlie's Pasture North Nature Preserve. We opted to not do too much walking since the temp with factored-in heat index  was already hovering around the century mark. We sat under the cover of the cotillion and viewed the lake activity. White Ibis and Roseate Spoonbills were off in the far corners, feeding. The slight breeze in the shaded area was nice. I'd much prefer being outdoors in the sea air, so we lingered there a while longer. Of course while Bud was scouting through the binoculars, I was taking photos!

Reflection of the white ibis on the pond

Hot morning temperatures wizened us up a bit and we moved on the 2nd and last stop for the day. Near the boardwalk, off the beaten path, I spotted this turtle. I thought its reflection was clear enough to show its underside.


At the opening of the reed grass-lined walkway, the water view opens up to the bird activity and wildlife. The usual birds, but very few, were noted. I say very few because of the numbers ...there were plenty of different species of course, but two or three of each...definitely less than a dozen, compared to the hundreds during migration seasons. Terns, cormorants, a few ducks are once again appearing, stilts, tri-colored herons, and great blue herons, snowy egrets and great egrets, sandpipers, moorhens, seagulls, one green heron, grackles along with  sandpipers and plovers far off in the distance. And ONE LONE alligator just a couple of feet from the wooden railings. The alligator was quiet; very docile. I walked to the end of the boardwalk in hopes of seeing the reported Least Bittern hidden somewhere in the cattails, nope. Turned around, met Bud halfway. Behind us, the snoozing alligator! Suddenly, a ruckus. Swishing water, grunting, then silence. Seconds later, the same explosive distraction. "Stop! What's that sound?"

The alligator was on the hunt, directly behind us!!!
The 'gator's head disappeared in the murky, muddy, water. Only to resurface. Coming up with its saber like teeth showing; mouth agape.  Only then....
Its jaws snapped closed!
The sound of crunching was heard. Likened to a massive tree branch splitting, cracking and falling to the ground!! Trust me, the force of its jaws could crush the bones of a human. It's one sound that you don't soon forget! Snapping, opening, snapping, crunching of the skeletal remains of its catch with their powerful jaws generating up to 3,700 pounds per square inch [1678.29kg] with each bite... Then, the alligator rolled its torso, over and over, sideways and back again. Up came the head. This time covered in slimy, dark mud from the pond's floor. Within just a minute or less, the meal [sorry to say it was a turtle] was consumed ... then, a silent stupor...digestive sleep was all that was remaining in the stillness and shock of our witnessing this.  Creating awe, fear and a whole new respect for its prowess and strength.



ps...the photo of Bud in the top, fence image, he is wearing a sweat shirt---this photo was taken in early Spring.

86 comments :

  1. I could tell it was spring by all that GREEN! I have always been in awe and FEAR of alligators!
    Clouds here in the DFW area - no rain but only 98 degrees so I can't complain!

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    1. I fear if it rains it'll warm up afterward...then a sauna. But we so need rain.

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  2. My heart would have been in my mouth, and my bladder running down my leg!

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    1. I would have been the same way if it was up on the boardwalk....I'd be slipping in some brown icky stuff and I fled the scene.

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  3. Good grief that would have had me frozen to the spot. I am glad he was in the water and not on the walkway. Great photos of him/her and of all the birds and turtle. You write so well Annie. It was just like I was there.

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    1. I was kinda frozen to the spot too. But, blessedly, not from fright, but from being mesmerized. Thanks Denise.

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  4. I totally agree with the comment above mine. My heart was in my throat and I felt like I was RIGHT THERE! How frightening!! I've always been afraid of those alligators!!

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    1. They are frightening....up until the other day, the two in this pond have been quite quiet and minding their own business while us birders go about OUR business. Now that I witnessed this, I'm gonna be a bit more leery.

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  5. Exciting and scary, I could hear that crunch from here. I wondered why Bud had that warm shirt on. I thought maybe you had showers like we did. Not enough to do any good and just made it hotter.

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    1. You summed it up perfectly....exciting AND scary.

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  6. Hello Anni, the gator sounds would have been creepy to me. Poor turtle, but I am glad it was not you and your Bud. I love the bird, turtle and the gator shots. Enjoy your day!

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    1. lol...I'm glad it wasn't Bud or me as her target too. Enjoy your day too Eileen.

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  7. Hi Anni,
    Nice photos and a great narration of the aligator's food fetching - hair-raising, shall we say? :)
    Have a Beautiful Day!
    Peace :)

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    1. well, after all the loud snapping of the turtle shell....the hair on my arms rose up.

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  8. Alligators always look so docile but when they move they do it quicly.

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  9. LOVE the Ibis and reflection but the alligator? Not so much. ;)

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    1. "Not so much"....a quote from the movie, Lone Ranger. lol

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  10. I hope I NEVER hear that sound. You described it well enough for me to be scared! :-)

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    1. It definitely isn't something everyone would WANT to hear....that's for sure.

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  11. 'Geez Louise'!, I feel like I was the turtle. Great narration!

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    1. Hope I didn't frighten you too much tho.

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  12. excellent photos as always and i have never seen them eat but i do know one just like this bit the arm completely off a woman a few days ago just a few miles from us. she was swimming and now has no arm... looking at these massive jaws i know how he did it. your description took me right to what you were watching

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    1. Ewwwww, sad day. At least she wasn't killed from the gator. My goodness.

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  13. i bet those teeth and jaws can crunch! nice ibis shot, too.

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  14. Exciting narrative. What an experience to watch/hear nature's food chain working. WOW! I'm not going there!

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    1. After this episode, I'm not sure I will want to be near one now. Never used to bother me. Now, I don't know.

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  15. First, you know what song is playing in my head now right?! ...and it's actually really clear! :) Next. oh my goodness, gators now that is something I'm not very used to seeing except when I visit family in Florida! Yikes! Thank goodness you and Bud were not lunch!

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    1. Like Mitch Miller...follow the bouncing ball and sing along. Probably before YOUR time. LOL

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  16. Wow! What an experience!

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    1. It was something to behold. I'm still not sure I liked the experience tho. Poor turtle.

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  17. Anni what a wonderful area you are privileged to live in...so much wildlife and a variety of birds
    hugs madi and mom

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    1. I'm not sure you read the part of a turtle being eaten alive. THAT kind of wildlife if a bit disheartening. Even if it IS nature.

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  18. Oh my what a story! Loved it! Too bad for Mr. Turtle but I guess that's the nature of things!

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    1. Yep...sad to see happen, but all in life must survive in such a way.

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  19. WOW! I can almost hear the sounds as you describe them so well.

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    1. The crunching....well, it was something...and it echoed through the cattails somewhat. I just can't describe it all.

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  20. Awesome story and captures to go with it!! You are privileged indeed and I'm SO glad you share with us, Anni!! Hope you have a beautiful weekend! Enjoy -- stay safe!!!

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    1. Thanks Sylvia. Glad you enjoy my posts.
      AND....I must say, I'm a bit perturbed with you funny post today. YOU GOT ME on that one. rofl

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  21. I would have loved to see that alligator in action. Awesome!

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    1. The rolling of its head is what captured my attention most.

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  22. Great story and pictures Annie.

    Annie I was able to enlarge your printing using my mouse to-day. Different way that I tried before. I wanted to explain myself from last blog to you but did not see a email to get in touch with you. I was diagnosed with one eye with Macular Degeneration . It gives me some difficult to read at times.

    Wow a Gator. Crunch. Scary. The turtle shadow was great. What an adventures day both you had.

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    1. ...thanks carolann...both in your not being able to read small text [I hope what I told you helps] and for enjoying the post.

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  23. Oh my stars I would have been scared "spitless" if I thought an alligator was anywhere near where I was standing. I feel bad for that poor turtle but I do understand that's nature's way. - Nice shot of Bud on that boardwalk.

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    1. ...thanks Ida.
      I've seen two in this vicinity ever since we've been going there [3 years now] and this is the first I've ever seen 'em chow down.

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  24. The place is beautiful, pictures you've taken are all great. I just felt sad for the pitiful turtle :( but if not him, who else and what else can the alligator eat? Those beautiful birds? Oh I don't know what I 'd like to serve the gator a dinner.

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    1. There's just gotta be SOME nutrition in the cattails? And the mud?

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  25. Wonderful exciting pictures along with a wonderful
    exiting story. Great job done Anni! :))
    I had to read until the very end :D

    Wish you a wonderful day and weekend to come
    Möwe

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    1. So glad to know you enjoyed the story AND the photos.

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  26. Love the long shot of the broadwalk and also the White Ibis with a gorgeous reflection. Great story about the Gator.

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  27. Alligators are frightening, indeed. As always, love your photos and the adventures that accompany them!

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  28. Thank you Annie for your information on making it larger the print. I guess that way I can do my art doing that as well.

    I just got in. Was lovely day out. Went to town . Doing many errands with hubby..




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    1. I love going to town. If it's not hot. Too hot here. Lucky you to have time and weather to enjoy a good day's outing.

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  29. Beautiful photos, and I like the Buffalo Springfield reference!!

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    1. You're the only one to mention the B. S. reference. High 5...and thanks!

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  30. well everyone has to eat but I would prefer not to see wildlife catching and chowing down on their meals. A very impressive site otherwise I'm sure

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    1. I don't mind the alligators...if they're sleeping. lol

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  31. Great turtle shot...and I love the ibis, too. I can honestly say that I don't regret not living near alligators! They do put fear into me..oh, not a phobia. Just glad I don't have to deal with them.

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    1. ...but there's always something to fear. For me, it's snakes. The only good snake is a dead snake.

      [sorry all you animal lovers out there...but I HATE snakes]

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  32. Much as it was a bad day for the turtle, it was a good day for you and the 'gator!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. ...since you put it that way...indeed.

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  33. Yikes! That's scary, but you got some awesome photos.

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    1. ...that's a GOOD word. Yikes indeed.

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  34. Gators!? It's scary. Sorry about the Turtle. :(

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  35. Oh My Anni, was it THAT turtle or another turtle, oh my nature at it's best~

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    1. Mary...no it was a different turtle.
      I do hope you're feeling better and soon mended.

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  36. Eek! I never like it when I see alligators get their prey - usually because they eat all the things I like to photograph! That's nature, though. Fantastic photos!

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    1. You're so right. For me too.

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  37. Beautiful sky, but I LOVE your shots of the birds & wildlife! Great white-tailed hawk and turtle and alligators. Wonderful post!

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    1. Except for the targeted turtle!

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  38. That's a great suspense story Anni - shades of Alfred the Great. Good thing you didn't test the alligator's sleepy disposition by dipping your toe in that pond.

    There's that Bud again hiding behind his bins. One of these days.....

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    1. Most times when we're birding, I rarely see his face...ALWAYS covered with the binoculars. But, the good thing is, he can spot some birds I miss.

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  39. I did read that Anni and cannot imagine seeing and hearing it. Nature is surely cruel the food chain goes on. I still have an imagine from years ago. I was eating breakfast a stray cat jumped up to the tray of one of my birdfeeders taking a male Cardinal right off the tray. I almost took all my feeders up!
    Hugs Cecilia

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    1. Oh...a favorite bird of mine...I'd truly be p o'd at THAT cat.

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  40. great reflections with the ibis and turtle

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  41. Beautiful, pictures you've taken... all are great. The place is wonderful and full of adventure...

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  42. Gorgeous reflection images.

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  43. What an experience! Wow! I'm not sure what I would have done. We've been talking about hunting and prey in my class lately, and the kids - so sweet - can't make up their minds about whether the way nature works is cool or disgusting. I'd say probably a little of both ;)

    thank you so much for joining us for Photo Friday this past week!

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