Bill and I decided that New Years Day was a perfect day for a walk through Paynes Prairie- and apparently, we were not alone in our thinking as the parking area was so full, we thought there must be an event going on! The wildlife all got the message too as they were out in force!
The Alligators were lined up on the banks - big ones, small ones and some HUGE ones. We expected to run into the Swamp People! Chut-em Liz'bit!
Yummy - lunch! This Anhinga swam to the bank where he beat the catfish on a log - and ate it.
Ms. Cardinal was playing peek-a-boo through the reeds.
Yuk! I can feel the stings just looking at them!
A Great Blue Heron was on an island waiting for something to happen. Notice the much, much smaller Green Heron in front of him
As I looked away to take a picture of an immature Black-crowned Night Heron...
I heard a ruckus and looked to see the heron with what looks like a HUGE salamander.
The heron was jumping and flapping his wings.
Another Yuk! We watched for awhile but couldn't decide whether he ate it or just killed it. Anyone know what it is??
An adult Black-crowned Night Heron looked on - obviously bored by the whole thing.
I did not expect to see a Forster's Tern so far inland.
He was flying rapidly around before diving straight into the water - over and over.
He finally got tired and landed for me to take a better picture.
We couldn't believe the size of this alligator - probably over 10 feet - and he was sitting along the side of the path where we were all walking. We passed within 5 feet of it - as did mother's with strollers, small children and a VERY excited gentleman jumping up and down yelling in some foreign language. I don't think he'd ever seen an alligator before. Bill offered to take his picture while he sat on his back - but he declined.
A Green Heron waiting patiently for lunch. He stood very still until a very territorial heron scared him away.
The wind was fluffing the feathers of this magnificent Snowy Egret. Check out his yellow feet!
An immature White Ibis. They are brown their first year.
The pied-billed Grebes look like playful duck children.
I love this shot! He looks like he got caught eating the cookies!
Another immature White Ibis.
We saw so many American Bitterns on this walk that Bill was calling them "trash birds" by the end.
American Bitterns are slow-moving birds and the stripes on their neck act as camouflage in the reeds.
Bill says I take too many pictures of the Tricolor Herons - but I like them!
I know this is a Song Sparrow because of the central spot on his streaked breast.
This is the last American Bittern picture.
Butterflies and flowers in January. I love Florida!
This Red-shouldered Hawk was in the distance and reused to turn around - but the picture shows his pretty coloring.
Is it just my imagination, or am I being watched? This Common Buckeye was sitting on the path.
Last but not least is this beautiful Great Blue Heron. Nice walk and a wonderful start to the new year.