Monday, April 10, 2017

Good Day for Gators

Florida Tourists
Florida is known for it’s Alligators, but many people who visit the state only get to see them behind bars or fences. Today we went to Circle B Bar Reserve, and got to see LOTS of gators in their natural surroundings – and we did not get eaten.

The Circle B Bar Reserve is a 1200 acre game preserve that used to be a cattle ranch, but has been allowed to return to it’s natural Florida swampland habitat. The reserve is famous for its bird life and alligators. We were taken here on a previous visit to Lakeland and thoroughly enjoyed it, so decided to go again. Last time
we saw an alligator in the lake and one other sunning itself on the shore. This time we probably saw over 15, including one Huge one. There is a raised trail running beside the lake with a swamp on the other side, and all except the one really big gator were in the swamp, but you could easily see the paths they used to cross the trail from the lake to the swamp. Most of them were hard to see, as they were covered with the green weed covering the swamp water, but once you focused on one, you knew what to look for and it became easier to pick them out. These alligators are really in their natural habitat and there is nothing separating you and them. Signs warn you to give animals the right of way, and I watched a video of one large alligator crossing the trail I had just walked
A BIG Ol' Gator!
on. Fortunately most looked pretty well fed and lazy in the heat of the day, so we did not actually run into any unfriendly gators.

Although observing the gators in their natural habitat was the highlight of the walk, the reserve is well known for it’s amazing bird life, but finding rare birds is easy – you just find one of the devoted “Birders” on the trails and sight down their massive camera lens pointed at the birds. They are always more than happy to explain all about their particular photographic prey.

All in all, a good day for gators!

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