Oh what a sight for sore eyes!! After 3 solid weeks of eluding my photographic capture (twice a day even) my Ole Popeye (aka Beau) finally surfaced for me!! I always find myself caught off guard each time I spot this Behemoth of a Gator. This guy's size is just jaw dropping! His very visage commands respect and distance as he lies quietly in the murky waters of his kingdom surveying his turf for opportunities...
The Old Man wasn't quite as active on this day as he has been previously this year but he did play a little peek-a-boo underneath the low lying limbs of a Cypress.
Of course I took advantage of this sedentary visit with some portraits in my favorite medium of Black and White...
The most important part of this visit was, I was afforded the opportunity to study and photograph the healing that has taken place over the winter of my old warrior's battle scars from last year. As you can see there is lots of healthy granulation going on and filling in of the gouges left in his right flank by a larger Alligator last year. I can't even begin to express how happy this makes me. Life for an Alligator is never easy from the time they utilize that egg tooth to emerge from their leathery shells only to become prey for wading birds, large turtles, raccoons, otters, fish and even other gators to the time they have reached geriatric age. Competition for territory, food and mates is always fierce with no regard for emotion or regret. It is truly survival of the fittest as only 2 or 3 hatchlings out of a clutch of 35 or so eggs make it to maturity. So any time you are rewarded with sightings of one of these magnificent modern day Dragons in the wild, be cognizant of the struggle it has endured just to bask in the sun for us to be amazed with their resilience and uniqueness.
Till Later My Gator!