Alligator With Smile & Feather

I found this Alligator at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. It looked like it was happy & smiling. Then I noticed the feather above it’s eye! Maybe it looked happy because it just finished a feathery meal. Or maybe the feather dropped down from the birds in the trees above the gator. The Alligators there actually protect the many nests in the rookery that are above the alligators. They keep many of the predators that would be attacking the nests from getting to the nests. It is amazing how many nests there are at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.

More CloseUp American Alligator Images From Florida

 

An assortment of close-up images of Alligators from 2 Florida locations, along the paths at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm’s Rookery. Featured image taken at Ding Darling NWR with 300mm f/4 Lens, Canon R.

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Alligator Teeth 560mm, Ding Darling NWR, Sanibel, Florida.  Canon 1D mkIV, 400mm DO lens, 1.4X Teleconverter

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Alligator @ 400mm, Tamron 150-600mm lens, Canon R, St. Augustine Alligator Farm

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Alligator @ 226mm, Tamron 150-600mm lens, Canon R, , St. Augustine Alligator Farm

Following is information on Alligators from Ding Darling NWR’s website.

One of only two alligator species in the world, the American Alligator is a large reptile found in freshwater habitats throughout the southeastern United States. Adult male alligators can grow up to 4.6 meters long and weigh over 500 pounds while females are generally smaller and average only 3 meters long with a weight of 200 pounds. Commonly portrayed as green, the skin of an American alligator is actually a dark grey color with pale yellow on the underside, and the juveniles have bright yellow stripes along their backs until they mature and the striped fade. The dark coloration allows this predator to better blend into the swamps, marshes, and wetlands it inhabits and camouflages the animal while it hunts at night. Another adaptation that allows the alligator to better hunt within its watery habitat is a double set of eyelids. One set of eyelids is much like a humans, they close up and down and protect the eye from debris and light. A second set of translucent eyelids, called a nictitating membrane, close front to back and are used to protect the eyes while the alligator is underwater. Like other reptiles, American alligators are cold blooded and need heat from the sun or other sources such as warm water to be active or even to digest their food. Special bone plates called scutes grow between layers of skin along the back of the alligator, giving the animal an armored appearance and acting as a solar plate. The scutes collect heat from the sun when the alligator sunbathes and warms the blood that runs through the vessels of the skin, transferring the heat throughout the body. Despite their appearance as slow, lazy, or unresponsive which sunbathing as alligator is capable of running up to 11 miles per hour on land in short bursts. This species is much better built for water travel, where it is able to utilize its tail as a paddle and rudder to guide the torpedo-shaped body through the water at speeds up to 20 miles per hour.

 

Alligator With 1 Eye Open

A couple of Alligator images from Lake Woodruff NWR in Florida. On the featured image the Alligator has 1 eye shut. I did not see it open while I was watching it, so do not know if it was injured. The one below passed by me and was slowly swimming up the channel.

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Another Alligator swimming up the channel

 

American Alligators @ Lake Woodruff NWR

On our trip to Lake Woodruff NWR we saw quite a few American Alligators in the channels along the paths. In other years we saw more, but they are not my favorite photo subjects, so it was fine for me. This is a closeup Head shot that was taken along one of the channels near the entrance. Other years we saw them on the paths or the shoreline. But this trip they were mostly in the water. It was hard to get good shots of them because of the reflections of the grasses and other plants along the shoreline which made the background busy looking.

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Same image as the featured image with a feathered in softer background

 

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American Alligator @ 600mm

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American Alligator with reflections of the grasses in the water @ 200mm

Alligators From Ding Darling NWR

I am going through my backup drives trying to clean out files for the New Year that are not needed or duplicates. But in the process I am finding files I have not used or adjusted. Work always seemed to get in the way! Here are a few from a trip years ago in 2011 to the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. All images were taken with a Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens on a Canon 7D. We were walking the Indigo Trail & Cross Dike Trail and came upon a couple of alligators sunning themselves. The featured image with the alligator was in the shade under some branches near the edge of the water as we walked past. For some reason it seems like it is almost smiling in the images.

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Same Alligator from farther away before I decided to get closer.   ( 400mm, Canon 7D )

This Alligator below was further down the trail from the featured Alligator. Again I shot 2 images for the panorama. I have since changed my technique by shooting more images for my panoramas. With adding more images for the panorama at different focus points, I can use an f/stop of f/8 or so. This way I get a more even focus across the whole panorama. If I do not need them I just skip to the next frame in the series of images. But at least I know I have enough images to use for making the pano. It is amazing how fast these alligators can move when they want to.

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Another Alligator further down the trail – 2 – 400mm images stacked panorama @ f/11, assembled in Photoshop

 

 

 

 

Courting Wood Storks

Wood_Stork_Courting_v2_76A4385With all the nests at the rookery, it was probable you would find some birds mating. Did not think it would be Wood Storks though. These Storks were at the top of one of the tallest trees in the Rookery. Not sure if it was their nest or an existing abandoned nest. Images shot @ 600mm. The images below are why there are so many nests at the Rookery. The alligators are basically protecting the nests from predators that would climb up the trees to feed on the young birds. These are just a few of the 30 or more alligators below the walkway.

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