by Nancy Dobias

It sure is unpredictable what the river or the wildlife might be doing at Myakka River State Park.   I've certainly learned that a + b is not always c. 

For instance:

a= the river is already up and trails are flooded   b= we've been having torrential downpours daily   c= main road floods

Wouldn't you expect the river to be over the road?  It's not.  It's close to the road. Where did all that water from those downpours go???

Another oddity is that ever-changing nature of the aquatic plants and their colors.  For those who favor lavender or light purple, this is the week for your color to be in.  The other colors are now a distant memory.

It's just remarkable how many color changes have occured in this field in the past few months.

What's not unusual is that there's always wildlife to see at the park.   You never know when you might come upon some critter that captures your interest.  Today I was going so slow looking for where the alligators might be resting that as I was driving along, a red-shouldered hawk passed me.  He swooped along at eye level beside my side window, and then he flew to an overhead branch in front of me.  There he awaited my admiring appreciation of how handsome he was.

At times I could see him listening to the sounds my camera was making.

But he must have been used to posing for the cameras.  He waited patiently for my camera lens to adjust to his every movement.  I believe he liked his profile shots the best.

If I were too slow in taking the pictures, he naturally gave me a look that said, "Can't we just hurry this along?  Exactly how long can I be expected to maintain the majestic haughty look???"

But when the camera started clicking again, he settled down and adjusted his poses accordingly.  Again, the side profile was his favorite.

How long he would stay was anyone's guess but since he didn't look in any hurry to leave, I continued clicking away.

If you're not doing anything, maybe you might take your camera and go out to the park.  Drive very slowly.  No doubt he'll swoop down to get your attention too. This hawk sure likes to pose!

By the way, I didn't see one alligator!  It was another one of those a + b does not always equal c....

Colin Visits Myakka Too!

by Nancy Dobias


I went to Myakka River State Park to see what effect Tropical Storm Colin and all the recent rains might have had on the park.  I had heard that many hiking paths were flooded but that the roads were dry.  When I arrived, I could see that many were taking advantage of scenic drives or bike rides through the park and a some were even camping.


Occasionally I stopped at favorite spots to see how they were faring with the encroachment of the river and invariably the visitors to the park assumed there must be alligators in that area and they would stop too.

I used to look in the woods for alligators when I first visited a flooded Myakka but I have since started looking for them in the flooded grasslands.   It’s from within those grasslands that I hear the most “welcoming” croaking when I am taking my pictures.  I’m not sure if they are inviting me to come closer or if they are just saying “Hey!”


I did want to see if I could get to my favorite path along the Myakka where I see the BIG GUYS and that involved a scenic walk under some oaks.  The path started out relatively dry and I was hopeful I just might be able to use that path.  I even encountered a hawk family who were upset that I had interrupted naptime and Mom was screeching her disapproval for all to hear.  Dad swooped down and flew off to the river.  I guess he knew to “get out of Dodge” when Mom was upset.

The park benches and the picnic table that normally are somewhat removed from the river were now too close to the river for me but they did look just right for an alligator family to enjoy.


It was not looking good for my path to be dry but I continued along...ever hopeful that maybe this might be the one dry path along the Myakka.

When I got to the entrance to the path, I looked back deep into the woods....weighed the depth of the water before me....looked to the left at where the river’s bank used to be....and thought, “Hmmmmm....I’m wearing my water shoes....”  Then I looked again.  Do I REALLY want to be up to mid-calf while slogging through the jungle? I think you know the answer to that.  Stepping off the path and into the river is one experience I do not want to have!

At least I got my exercise for the day and I did see some pretty scenery, so although the BIG GUYS were not easily spotted today, that just gives me a reason to try on another day....Hope you get to go.  I think the park wears lots of faces and all of them are something to see!