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....)

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!! 

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.


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.

The Philosophy of a Fish

The Philosophy of a Fish by Nancy Dobias

It's always good to be receptive to learning, to listen to other points of view, and to perhaps reinforce or modify one's positions.  With that in mind, Freida the Fabulous Fish has some "truisms" to pass along.

Knowing one's limitations can prevent an embarrassing situation....

Biting off more than one can chew can be an uncomfortable feeling.

Going out on a limb is a stunt best left to the acrobats.

Of course, Luisa and Ethel had their own wisdom to share.

One must listen to learn.

Other Myakka friends offered their tidbits as well.

One should always be prepared for what comes one's way.

Being a good conversationlist can save the day.

Wherever your paths may lead you or whatever currents you may ford in life, may they always bring you "home" to a feeling of well-being within your soul.