blue heron

Lake Wobegon at Myakka?


Guest Post by Nancy Dobias.

I didn't mean to go to Myakka River State Park early this morning but as I was driving by the overpass of the Myakka River and saw the fog laying low over the river, I thought, "Whoa....this looks like the setting for some scary movie."  Giving in to temptation, I turned around, presented my state pass and into the park I went.  First stop was the river trail behind the south pavilion but because it was too foggy to get any clear shots of the river, I didn't last long.

Since the bridge was just as foggy, I kept driving until next I came to a grove of trees that would look great in that scary movie.  Too bad there were no sound effects.

I did, however, encounter an unexpected resident of Myakka temporarily biding his time in a flooded field as he watched vehicle after vehicle after vehicle make their way past him.

He must have been feeling rather cozy enjoying some time away from the river as he didn't appear in any rush to leave.  I don't think he wanted to be in any scary movie because he chose a field of red in which to lay...maybe he wanted to present himself as an attractive picture for a possible Valentine's Day card.

Those who were in a rush were a group of vultures looking to get in a quick game of soccer, especially since the fog had finally lifted.  They weren't interested in cards or movies.  They wanted to compete, to prove themselves on the "field of honor.”

A few of their friends who were more into water sports decided to pass on soccer and instead wait around for someone to rent them some canoes.  Seeing life from another plane was going to be their goal today.  In fact one of them was so impatient for the rental place to open that he kept scanning the nearby road to see when someone would arrive.

Another two decided that a romantic picnic in the park was more what they would prefer.  Their parents, however, did send along a chaperone to make sure they behaved.

Too bad that chaperone didn't supervise a Great Blue Heron who was on the other side of the parking lot.  He could have used a review of Emily Post dining etiquette.  The heron caught himself an alligator-sized fish but there was no way he was giving up his prize to anyone.  It was going down no matter what.

He looked like he was trying to "beat" on it to make it more palatable.  When all else failed, down the hatch it went.  I think this guy could have been the star of that scary movie!! 

Who Will Challenge the Great Egret?

Who Will Challenge the Great Egret?

Guest post by Nancy Dobias

Sundays must be THE day to go fishing at Myakka River State Park. At least it was for the Great Egret who upon finding his CATCH OF THE DAY, couldn't wait to parade it along the length of the river as his friends longingly admired his prize.

I noticed that one was a bit envious that she had not found hers yet but she knew the river had much to offer for those who persisted in their goals.

A few of her friends were not so energetic.  They were more content to hang with friends than to compete with an egret over who caught the biggest and baddest fish.

As I continued my stroll, I happened upon a woodpecker who upon noticing the egret soaring high overhead, chided the alligators into giving the egret a run for his money.  "Surely you guys can catch bigger fish than he can!' teased the woodpecker."

Well, maybe not. Sometimes it's just nice to hang with friends.


Such a surprise it was to go to Myakka River State Park and to witness Dr. Philomena ready and willing to impart her learned tidbits of wisdom to all who would pay her a visit.

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

Surprisingly a Great Blue Heron was the first to avail himself of the opportunity to speak with the learned doctor.  As I watched him make his way over to Doctor Philomena, I couldn't help but wonder whether this was actually trickery on the part of the alligators.  "Surely that heron isn't going to come within STRIKING distance of the alligators?" I wondered as I watched and worried.  "This can't be for real...." But it was.  The Great Blue Heron puffed up his feathers and with his head held high, stoically made his way to "the office" and wisdom of Dr. Philomena.

"If I were that heron, I wouldn't be putting myself that close to an alligator," I thought.  But that's just what he did and it worked!  "I guess having an air of confidence must work wonders," I postulated.  Why someone with that confidence level would need to get advice from Dr. Philomena was beyond my comprehension!   As soon as the heron arrived to Dr. Philomena's "office," the consult began.  It turns out that Henry and Henrietta Heron had been having difficulty in their marriage and Henry wanted to know how to recapture Henrietta's heart.  "You must take her dancing!" advised the doctor.  "You have forgotten how much a woman loves to dance." Dr. Philomena continued.

Well, no sooner had the doctor given her advice was Henry "out the door" and on his way to winning back the heart of his sweetie.  "I can do that, I can do that!" excitedly proclaimed Henry.   As I watched Henry make his way to Henrietta, I couldn't help but notice that once more the alligators were a non-entity to Henry.  Henry was locked onto getting himself back to Henrietta, sweeping her romantically into his arms and dancing the day away if she so desired.

Back and forth they fox-trotted, back and forth they tangoed, back and forth they strutted while alligator after alligator patiently veered around them.

Yes, Henry was quite proud of himself.  His one true love was back.  Henrietta was the happiest Henry had seen her in years.  Henry couldn't wait to tell Dr. Philomena all about it.  Unfortunately when Henry returned to the "office,"  the good doctor was on break.  I guess it's good that Henry didn't end up in a discussion with the good doctor.  After all, he had promised Henrietta a day of dancing and Henrietta doesn't do well with waiting.