Tuesday March 15th 2022
Today’s weather ranged from partly cloudy to semi tropical deluge. The first half of the day was dry with the potential for a change in the wet direction at any minute. From early afternoon on it was off and on rain with the biggest thunderstorm level downpour happening at the supper hour. The temperature maxed out in the upper seventies.
Walking the campground loop around the pond this morning I had my first visit on this stay with the resident alligator. Just to be sure the tourists knew what he was, he was camped out under the alligator warning sign. This is a fairly big gator that I think has lived in this pond for several years. People are repeatedly warned not to walk their dogs close to the pond.
After lunch I set out in the car to explore the area along the Tamiami trail to the west of the campground. I went less than half way to Naples, but stopped at three areas with gator viewing. The first stop was the visitors center with a boardwalk along the roadside canal. The canal is very popular with the local alligator population. I counted about twenty gators, but there were likely more at the bottom of the canal. I got a couple of bird pictures as well.
My other long stop was at the Kirby Storter Roadside Park. It was a popular stop today. I met a number of people on the half mile boardwalk trail into the Cypress Strand. Given that this is the dry season, the water level was low. Most of the boardwalk passed over dry grassy ground. Along the tree line portion of the trail there are a lot of Orchids or Bromeliads growing high in the trees. Some are getting ready to blossom. At the end of the trail there is a “gator” hole. It is a deeper portion of the creek that passes through the cypress strand. I spotted several turtles and a few very young alligators. They were under two feet in length.