A Day of Alligators and Great Blue Herons

Saturday December 19th 2020

Today’s weather was back closer to normal for this area. The temperature when I got up this morning was in the fifties. By the time the sun set it was in the mid seventies. It was a full sunshine day with very little wind. I would call it a very nice weather day.

The pictures in this blog entry focus on Alligators and Great Blue Herons. I took other pictures today, but I seem to like the pictures of these critters the best.

As expected, the volume of visitors in the park increased with the arrival of the weekend. In some areas it became dangerous with pedestrians, bicycles, cars and RVs competing for the same ground. The bridge over the Myakka River is a great place for alligator watching. People often line both sides watching the birds and gators. Cars need to wait and cross the bridge one direction at a time to avoid running people over. Pets and little kids need to be well supervised to prevent further disruptions, but how do you avoid the curious tourist that stops their car in the middle of the bridge to gaze at the gators. Today I observed the negative impact of each of those.

The park roads are narrow, winding and tree lined. The speed limit varies from fifteen to twenty five miles per hour. When a fast moving car comes around a corner and finds bicycles, RVs and other cars in both directions, some quick reactions are necessary to avoid disaster. I thought I was going to be witness to one such disaster when the car in front of me tried to pass an RV on a corner with bicycles and fast moving cars coming from the opposite direction. I really don’t now how disaster was averted, but everybody got through without damage or injury.

Judging by the volume of cars in the parking areas, the park isn’t that busy. Many of the day use areas like playgrounds and pavilions are closed. The parking lot at the Outpost wasn’t full either. The boat and tram rides weren’t full either. All of this is good from a social distancing perspective, but what would this park be like with full parking lots and even more visitors.

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