Just Reflecting

(click image for greater detail)


Down on the bayou, when the wind lays and the water calms, even the creatures seem to enjoy the respite.

Here, an American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) lazes away the early morning: his chunky profile a notable contrast to the delicate dawn pinks and lavenders reflected around him.


Comments always are welcome.


38 thoughts on “Just Reflecting

  1. You have an amazing way with words, Linda. I’ve seen days like that and never would have been able to describe it so vividly. (for that I’m certain!)

    1. I’m glad I evoked the experience of mornings like this for you, GP. Since alligators are most active from dusk to dawn, this one may have been resting up after a night of carousing. It certainly was a treat to see him.

    1. I like the symmetry, too — and I especially like his nose. Now that you mention it. I can see those leaves: elm, maybe. Perhaps because of all the water, I saw two little volcanic islands — but no inhabitants. Maybe they’ve all been eaten. (Speaking of — did you see the cartoon Steve G. added to my recent posts about the egrets? An alligator was sitting on a bar stool with a mic in his hand, singing, “Egrets, I’ve had a few…”)

    1. No, not at all. Of course, I try not to threaten them, either. I’ve scared up a few along the edges of bayous and sloughs, but they head for the water and I head in the other direction. I’m especially cautious during mating season, and during warm weather I never crouch near the water’s edge. Those familiar with their behavior say that makes us look more easily snatchable, and standing is the wiser course.

    1. Prosper, they do. We don’t have the numbers that are found in Florida, but we have just as many crossing freeways and taking dips in neighborhood swimming pools. Usually, they’re trapped and relocated, unless one’s identified as a dangerous predator.

      Protective laws have increased their numbers so much that a short hunting season now exists, as well. It’s highly regulated, with a drawing for a limited number of tags, and the game wardens do a great job of making sure no one poaches.

    1. Isn’t that the truth? There’s nothing quite like seeing an apparently sleeping gator open one eye to give you “the look.” There’s a lot of sensitivity beneath all that armor – they know who’s around,and what might make a nice snack.

  2. That picture brought to mind the submarine Nautilus from the 1954 Disney version of “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” — (the one with Kirk Douglas and Peter Lorrie). The shape is very reminiscent of their version of the sub, even down to the window with the yellow “eye.” If you cropped off the top part with the stalks, it almost looks like an abstract painting. I love the blue of the water. The word “alligator” is a corruption of the Spanish “el lagarto” which means “lizard” Not surprising since Florida is another of those states like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, etc., that we “appropriated” from Spain.

    1. Just for grins, I cleared out those plants from the photo to see what it would look like, and it reminded me of a Magritte painting. The alligator seemed to be floating in an indeterminate sky, like Magritte’s men with umbrellas and bowler hats.

      If it weren’t for the reflective water and the blue sky, I fear the alligator’s environment wouldn’t have been nearly so pleasing. The water itself wasn’t very pretty — unless you’re really fond of brown water. As for lizardness, it’s worth noting that, despite the name, alligators are members of the order Crocodilia, while the term “lizard” is used for members of the order Squamata.

    1. I’ve developed quite a fondness for these creatures. It’s true that their feeding habits can be a little distressing to witness, but when they’re just hanging around, they’re great fun to observe.

  3. Very brave of you, Linda. A very good photo. Since the crocodile in Australia became protected their numbers have increased in tandem with their consumption of humans.
    Some many years ag one could buy crocodile steaks from super-markets. I bought a packet but the meat looked grey and I gave it to Mu-Mu our cat that lived on our roof. It was a roof cat.

    Only two days ago a wild-life ranger got taken by a salty. She was collecting mussels.

    1. No bravery involved here at all, Gerard. A nice telephoto lens comes in handy for more than birds.

      I’ve read that your crocodiles are far more aggressive than our alligators. The last death by alligator in Texas took place in 2015, and it had been well over a hundred years since the last death. The man who was killed had decided to go swimming at night in a place where a 10-foot gator had been spotted. Warning signs had been posted, and people warned him not to go in the water, but he took off his shirt and put it on the ground with his wallet before diving in. His last words seem to have been “$&#@ the alligator.” The alligator clearly got the last word.

    1. I suspect you’re right that it’s not hard to guess those gator thoughts: “When is my next meal going to happen by?” is a good bet, followed closely by, “Where’s the best patch of sunshine for a nice, warm nap?” I really was happy to find this fellow. I’m getting better at spotting them even when they’re nearly submerged.

  4. Great shot, Linda! This one almost looks as if it’s up to something. Perhaps plotting its next meal! For sure, I wouldn’t want it anywhere near my house, and I’ve seen photos on TV where folks have found them on their front porches and patios, especially with all the rain in some parts of the country. Yikes, even my butterfly net wouldn’t suffice against a critter this BIG!!

    1. It might be plotting its next meal — or just laying around digesting its last one. They do get displaced here by flooding from time to time, but we don’t have nearly the problem with them that Florida apparently does. That’s part of the reason it’s big news when one shows up crossing a highway or whatever — it’s an unusual occurrence. You’re right about your butterfly net, though. It would take a lot of batting with that net to even get this guy’s attention!

    1. Not to worry one bit, Yvonne. One of the joys of a nice 70-300mm lens is that it allows photos like this, with no disturbance to the alligator and no danger to me. It’s the ones I can’t see that I keep in mind. Believe me, if I hear a mysterious noise I can’t identify, I don’t go over to check it out; I go the other way. I’ve noticed that most stories about alligator attacks involve beer and/or stupidity. I don’t drink beer when I’m out and about, and I try to keep my stupidity under control!

    1. Despite being your age, I don’t remember the movie. Of course, I did the only reasonable thing and did an image search for the sub. No wonder you mentioned the resemblance! Now I can see it in the gator’s profile, too.

    1. I was thrilled to happen across him. Usually I find them sunning on the bank, or just poking their nose out of the muddy water. I thought this was more than a little unusual — at least, for around here.

    1. It’s not an everyday sight, that’s for sure. Dare I confess that when I first saw him, I thought immediately of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, and “Islands In The Stream”? The mind may be a terrible thing to waste, but sometimes it’s just weird.

  5. The scientific name surprised me, though it must point back to ‘Rio Mississippi’ and its sprawling flood plain/delta. My ‘brain’ tells me, ‘Yes, it’s an alligator,’ but its snout looks quite pointed like a crocodile!

    How well I remember fishing from the bank in front of our house near Jonesville, Louisiana, and I was reeling in a catfish… Lurking nearby in the water hyacinths was an alligator, which decided that my catfish was worthy of its next snack! A friend watched from a higher vantage point and shouted, “Lisa! Watch out!” and since I wasn’t willing to donate my Ambassador reel to the gator, I turned and ran uphill, pulling the catfish with me. The alligator chased, and most likely I screamed…. I don’t remember taking the fish off the hook, but I can still recall my friend’s comment: “I swear, you’re all crazy.”

    1. The name sure enough is grounded in your old home turf. As for the snout, it’s a bit of an optical illusion created by just the right amount of submersion. Here’s another lurker with a slightly more direct view of the snout. I think the bump on the end of the nose of the one above is just a bit more pronounced than some. He might even be younger, although he seemed to be pretty good sized.

      That’s a great story about you vs. the gator. Every now and then a wade fisherman or kayaker around here will report a little encounter, and it usually involves someone who’s not secured his stringer. When I was doing my research on how to respond if a gator decided I was a target, the first thing I learned is that the old myth about running in a zig-zag pattern’s not effective at all. The ones who know say that dead run in the opposite direction — just like yours — is the best defense, since the alligators can hit about 35 mph, but only for very short distances. With any kind of a running start, we ought to be able to outrun them. I prefer not to test the theory!

      1. Yes, I remember seeing a ‘gator bolt from sunning on a log on the bank one day when I was fishing from a john boat…
        the alligator went from ‘dead still’ to full throttle and splashed into the lake/disappeared – a good lesson for me, as I never dreamed they could move so fast!

      2. That second ‘lurking’ image is lovely too – if one can say that an alligator is lovely! My friend who was in the boat with me would never say that a gator was lovely! She still laughs about that day, but she was terrified – and I laughed!

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