June 29th The Park.... Part 2

by Russell Smith July. 01, 2019 180 views

Part 2 will be about Fred and his smaller and larger cousins in the area.

Lets start where we left off in part 1... This guy I see every time I go to the park he hangs out in the same area so because he is a regular to me I decided to name him and Fred seems to fit him for some reason. I think I said in the previous post that there were two other cousins of Fred that were using his beach. Both were smaller thusly they are also younger than him. Because of this they are a bit more skittish and jumped into the water which startled him. Because I frequent this location I know that in 5 or 10 min he will cruise back to shore and return to resting. The other two I had 0 clue about.

This is one of the other two. It was about 2 feet long so I am guessing maybe about two years old. This one was very skittish and never returned to shore at least while I was there observing it.

While watching the smallest of the three to see if he/she will come back to shore. I was able to grab this shot.

While waiting and watching I kept hearing some baby alligators in the weeds on the far side of the canal . I never did see them and the sounds were faint so there maybe a nest back in the weeds that the little ones are just emerging from the nest.

After sitting quietly and observing for a bit the little one made their way to the shore.

Now I know Fred looks a bit big in this shot in all reality he/she is about a meter or just over in length. This will give you an idea of the other ones small size. Maybe 18-20 inches.

Distance from me to them is maybe 10 meters or about 33 feet.

Distance from me to them is maybe 10 meters or about 33 feet.

This is my observation point and as long as I stay within this plane Fred does not feel threatened .

I feel like I am getting side eyed from this little guy. I wonder what he/she is thinking.

I guess I was boring it because it decided to Yawn . Fun fact is yes Alligators do Yawn. In the bottom picture you can see what looks like a flap at the back of the throat. This is the opening to the esophagus. This is what allows the Alligator to open its mouth under water and catch prey without getting its stomach flooded with water.

I do not know how well it translates to the photograph but you can see a slide in the mud (near the grass on the left side of the image) . This is from the alligator sliding back into the water. The larger this trail is the larger the alligator. One way you can have an idea of if there is any alligators or possibly how large they are in an area. Especially if you are in or on the water.

After spending 30 or 40 min with these guys I decided to move on. Towards the end of my walk through the park I spotted a larger cousin of these three.

There were some kids close (50-75 yards) to where I was that were using a stick to play in the water and it was making a splashing sound. This grabbed the Alligators attention and caused it to come closer to investigate.

When the splashing stopped it just hung out for a few moments before it resumed the patrol of the area .

Part three will be some more of the birds of the park. Stay Tuned.

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There are 15 comments , add yours!
Heike 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Fantastic post and shots! You are really lucky to live in an area where you can see them wildlife! I envy you.

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Heike 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Thank you. Honestly if there is not wildlife or birds that I can go out and shoot or watch then I would be 100% miserable living in that spot. It is honestly the only real requirement I have for when we move .

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Bethany Plonski 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Awesome post! I really like #3 - it has a nice sense of mystery, but these are all fantastic. Glad to see your setup too. Without seeing that, I would have assumed you were much closer.

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Bethany Plonski 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Thank you I think sometimes without a pullback type shot it is easy to think the animals are much closer than they are. With a 200 or 300mm focal length and a bit of cropping in the framing would be the same. Honestly at one point I was wishing I had the 70-200 in the bag because 150 on the crop sensor was too tight to get the framing I wanted of the two together.

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Staab 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Loving every photo and comments. Of course you have made me jealous several times, but my turn will come soon enough. I appreciate you taking photo #6 it really helped me understand where you were and how close you were to the alligators.

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Camellia Staab 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I try to stay at least 50 yards from them 30 minimum. There are exceptions but those are related to heights and position of them in relationship to me. The smaller ones I will get a bit closer to but not much closer because they are skittish. I want enought time to react and move if things go sideways.

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Camellia Staab Replied to Russell Smith 4 months, 2 weeks ago

👍...yes getting too close might not be a very good idea smile

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Antonio Gil 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I so love these pictures Russel. Thanks for posting #6 - it gives us a general idea of the natural scenario.

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Antonio Gil 4 months, 2 weeks ago

#6 is a shot that I have been meaning to do for a while now I just remembered to take it because I was there for a while because I was watching and waiting. I find the more I use the tripod the more I like using it although that tripod is on my last nerve but that is more about having to rig it so that I can tighten the parts that need tightened .

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Rob Marson Replied to Russell Smith 4 months ago

I love shot #8 and I feel your pain re the tripod. Great shots but getting it set up is a pain in the a**

4 months ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Rob Marson 4 months ago

Thank you. I have a love hate relationship with that particular tripod. I love using them especially with the long lens because when I am not walking there is a 100% reduction in weight and when I am walking I can shift the weight where I want.

4 months ago Edited
Tsao T-F 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Beautiful and terrible!

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Tsao T-F 4 months, 2 weeks ago

:) Thank you.

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Jay Boggess 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Great photo reportage, Russell! Great shots & commentary! I'll be looking forward to the next installment! smile+1

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Russell Smith Replied to Jay Boggess 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Thank you. While I have always loved outdoors and nature there is a program that use to be on called Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom . The wonder and awe that the episodes instilled in me and made me love being out in nature even more is my inspiration. It is easy to love something like a panda or elephant but to me it is also important to try and show a less monster like quality to some of the animals like Alligators.

4 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
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