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.

 

Roseate Spoonbills En-Garde In TreeTops

It is also fun photographing Roseate Spoonbills interacting with each other around or by their nests or just roosting in the tree tops. They seem to be in small groups scattered around the nests. They can also be quite vocal! Sometimes it sounds a little eerie! The featured portrait image looks a little strange because you do not see the usual striking pinkish color of these birds. All images captured @ 400mm with a Canon 7D (effective full frame FOV ~ 640mm)

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Roseate Spoonbill FlyBy

Here are a series of images of Roseate Spoonbills in flight. These are from a previous trip to Florida, but did not post them before. One of my favorite birds to photograph! Plus they are a Large and Colorful bird. Easier to fill the frame and you definitely see them coming! Also they are interesting to watch how they interact with each other in the tree tops. My next post will show some of those images. Being retired now I have time to go through my large backlog of past trips. These are all taken back then with a Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens on a Canon 7D (Full Frame FOV ~ 640mm)

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Wood Stork Flying In Nest Building Materials

When we were photographing birds at a Rookery in Florida, I photographed this Wood Stork flying in nest building materials. Once it got closer to the tree the nest was in, it disappeared in the branches and leaves.

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Roseate Spoonbill Antics

While I was photographing birds at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm I noticed these 2 Spoonbills, high up on a branch, interacting together. They kept prodding each other and making quite a bit of noise squawking as they were going at it.  But it gave me an opportunity to get some interesting photos of them while they were busy.  I was using a zoom lens from 350mm to 600mm. Maybe the one just wanted the spot on the branch the other one was standing. After a few minutes it did get the spot on the branch. While I was working on my files I was amazed at the detail of the images from the Canon R. Especially the fine feather details and the clean look of the files.

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Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms!

A few images of young birds in nests from a recent photo trip.

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Young Great Egrets

_GE_Nest_Chicks_v2_AF_600mm_76A4291The featured image shows a little older set of young Great Egrets. They were just hanging out at the nest waiting for food for when their parents return. Below are a few other Great Egret nests with younger birds showing their “fuzzy” look. The images were shot at 550mm and 600mm.

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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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More Great Egret Nests

Among the wide variety of nesting birds at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm’s Rookery, there are many Great Egret nests in the trees. This blog post shows a few of these.  It is amazing to see so many nests in most of the trees. Some trees have a dozen or more nests in a single tree. Also the variety of birds nesting in the same tree.

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