|Sweetwater Wetlands Park|
I think they succeeded.
On the day I visited, this fine specimen of Alligator mississippiensis was taking in some rays--isn't he beautiful?
|Are you lookin' at me?|
Females are devoted mothers. She remains near the nest, protecting her unborn throughout the 65-day incubation period. Prior to hatching, the baby gators make high-pitched noises from inside their eggs, causing Mom to start digging them out of the nest and carrying them down to the water in her jaws.
Did you know that gators have two kinds of walk? They have a “high walk” and a “low walk.” The low walk is sprawling, while in the high walk the alligator lifts its belly off the ground. This little guy below is high-stepping it across the road.
|So why does the gator the road?|
|Can I get an amen from the congregation?|
Did you know that a group of alligators is called a congregation?
On my last visit, one of the first birds I sighted was the noble osprey. These raptors mate for life, returning to the same nest over the generations. In a mating pair's first season, the nest is relatively small, but in time, a nest might be large enough for a person to sit in. SWP is home to several nesting pairs.
|"I think he'll be to Rome as is the osprey to the fish,|
who takes it by sovereignty of nature" Shakespeare
I'm not sure what kind of ducks these are, but they're an orderly sort.
|At last, I've got all my ducks in a row!|
|The shadow of the anhinga.|
The graceful anhinga is easily identified by its habit of stretching its wings to dry.
It's sometimes called the snake bird for its habit of swimming with its long head and neck sticking out, as you see here.
There's definitely a reptilian vibe going on, don't you think? If you squint, there's a definite resemblance to Nessie of Loch Ness!
Along with the sights, the park is a symphony of bird song. This limpet has a piercing cry that's hard to forget.
After eating, the wood stork likes to stand around, as if in deep contemplation, which is why it's sometimes called a preacher bird.
|I fish,therefore I am.|
I hope you enjoyed this look at a small piece of wild Florida that's been reclaimed through science and planning. Jules Reynard wrote:
On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.
Sweetwater Wetlands Park is my piece of heaven here in Gainesville.