myakka

Spring Has Sprung at Myakka

Now that the first day of spring has arrived, some of the Myakka residents can't help but break out in song.

Once the fields are bedecked in green and no longer covered in water, turkeys can be found scouring the meadows

or sashaying through the woods scratching up any tidbits that might have been left behind.

Old friends can be found gathering at the river to once more talk about their glory days,

while some young'uns hide, hoping their long-winded distant uncle will share his glory days with someone else.

Most, however, feel the excitement that spring brings.  Love is in the air and you can never look too good.

Competition is keen and figuring out what will win the heart of your soulmate is on many a mind. 

Since it's early in the courting season, there's plenty of time to play the field,

and plenty of time to welcome spring whether within a group or by oneself.

The turkeys were out enjoying the day.  Were you?

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

Baby Birds Coming to the Bridge

Baby Birds Coming to the Bridge

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

I went to Myakka River State Park today to see if I'd be lucky enough to see the turkey strutting through the meadow but he was no where to be found. So I continued on to the weir.  Generally I walk through the woods to get to the weir.

Such remarkable beauty to see the oak trees bedecked with the Spanish moss or to even see the soaring palm trees stretching up to get their piece of the sun.

Today I learned something new.  There's another way to get to the weir.  A path has been "carved" through the grasses and runs along the Upper Lake.

It goes right to the base of the weir.  A welcoming party of Vultures and Anhingas will even be there there to greet you and engage you in conversation should you so desire.

I personally love to "talk" with the vultures.  Whether it's a close-up,

or a full-bodied shot, the vultures always seem ready and eager to please. 

I'm not so sure about the wood storks.  I love the wood storks and find them an interesting bird to photograph but I'm not so sure they're operating on "all fours" if they can mosey by an alligator, have the alligator make a half-hearted lunge for having had his sleep disturbed and the only reaction from the wood stork is a slight ruffling of his feathers.

The wood stork apparently finds nothing formidable in an alligator. 

Since we're on the subject of birds, do you ever wonder why some people mistakenly believe that birds would be safer in a world without alligators?  They must think that birds are at the mercy of the alligators who prey on them.  Check out a close-up of this Great Blue Heron.  In his world, no doubt his prey would be trembling at being in HIS sights.  The intensity of the eyes...the sharpness of that beak...sure would hate to be on the receiving end of THAT power.

Personally I think it's important to understand and accept there is room on this planet for all of us.  When you start to point the finger at one species, there could be someone else pointing the finger at you.  It's best to just move over and make room.  

Speaking of that, there is new life that is coming to the bridge.  A Great Blue Heron has made a nest on one of the islands in the middle of the river and is hoping the world will soon make room for her little ones.  I didn't personally notice the nest was there, but one of the volunteers for Friends of Myakka was working at the bridge today and was talking about what visitors could see from the bridge.  I thought she was about to tell me about the alligators or the limpkins but instead she surprised me with the news of the nest.  It just so happened that Mom was on the nest when she pointed out its location but later, Mom lowered herself down into the nest.  The next time you go to Myakka River State Park, bring your binoculars and check out the nest.  Maybe you'll see Mom or maybe the eggs will be hatched and one of the little ones will be peeking up out of the nest but you won't see them without your binoculars.  Look on the canopy side of the river and at least maybe you'll see bedraggled parents coming and going from the nest.

The river is looking mighty pretty at the bridge too.  Bring a camera!!  (Don't forget to photograph the vultures at the weir.  They sometimes feel neglected....)

THE SEASONAL ART OF A MYAKKA LANDSCAPE

The Seasonal Art of a Myakka Landscape

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

It's never predictable what you might see at MYAKKA RIVER STATE PARK.  The fields might be in flowers.

Or they might be flooded.

Or they could be in transition as they are now.

The fields and trails could be One with the Myakka River, or they too could be readying themselves for a rebirth.

Along the road you may be greeted with a wet grassland or a dry one.

But whatever time of the year you may go to the park, you're bound to notice its abundance of wildlife and its engaging conversationalists.

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Why not check it out?  But do remember...whatever you expect to see, you might not see but whatever you DO see can still be worthy of a picture or two.

When is Enough Enough?

When is Enough Enough?

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

Talk about a test of faith. When we went to Myakka River State Park on Sunday, we noticed an alligator surrounded by vultures.  The alligator was not moving a muscle and Larry wondered if he were dead.  Just as he said that, the alligator's back leg twitched and the alligator opened his eyes.

Did that bother the vultures?  No.  They had a mission and that mission was to snatch whatever the alligator was holding firmly in his jaws.

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Because the vultures would not leave him alone to enjoy his meal in peace, the alligator was forced to take other measures. Did he attack?  No.  He steadily lumbered over to the river and off he swam.

Did that thwart the plans of the vultures?  No. They happened to notice another slightly smaller alligator who they hoped might be willing to share a meal with them.

I didn't think the alligator had anything to share but that didn't stop the pesty vultures from being in his space anyway.

I fully expected the alligator to lunge at the vultures to at least chase them away but it seemed to be a stand-off.  No one was backing down but no one was being aggressive either.

It must have been a "live and let live" kind of day at Myakka.  Neither the alligators swimming by or those who were stationed along the banks of the river evidenced any inclination to harm those with whom they shared the bounties of the river.

I wonder when humankind will understand that lesson.