Weird Things at the Weir

Wild Things at the Weir

Guest Post by Nancy Dobias

A most unusual thing happened when we met our out-of-state friends and former Ohio neighbors at Myakka River State Park.  Because they had heard so much about the park from me, they wanted to experience the park first hand.  We first took them on our favorite trail and although I wasn't hopeful we would see many alligators since the river was up, the alligators must have heard that Steve and Marilyn were visiting and of course they came out to say, "Hey!"

The landscape was as beautiful as always whether we were on this trail,

at the Bird Walk, at the very top of the Canopy Walk,

or taking in the lovely views along the weir on the Upper Lake.

It was while we were at the weir that I encountered the strangest thing I ever saw.  An alligator who had been tucked into the island grasses in the middle of the "canal," made a typical alligator croaking sound.

One of the visitors along the shoreline responded with the exact same sound.  He mimicked it PERFECTLY.  I did NOT expect anything to happen, but something did.  The alligator immediately got up from his slumber, left his hiding place, entered the water and swam to our side of the water!  When I first heard the crowd saying there was an alligator coming, I figured they meant the alligator was swimming past them, on down the "canal" and further into the lake.   I did NOT expect to see the alligator making a bee-line to our side of that water.  My instinct was to look at the man to see if he had anything in his hand that he was using to entice the alligator.   He wasn't.  It was his VOICE that was the draw. 

This man had the ability to mimic an alligator perfectly.  The alligator did not care that there were 10-15 adults clustered in front of him.  He had a "special friend" he wanted to meet.  Naturally cell phones were all aimed in the direction of that alligator.   As I watched the alligator from a safer vantage point and  through a telephoto lens, I wondered what he might be thinking.

Because our Ohio friend was an expert at wild turkey calls, he naturally decided he would try his hand at calling an alligator using his turkey call.  Although it WAS very good, it did not meet the alligator's discerning taste.

But the park DID meet the approval of our friends and former neighbors from Ohio.  They loved it.  Now, when they think of Florida, it won't be just her beaches and baseball that draw them back.  The memories of what they experienced at Myakka River State Park will also be part of that allure.   What a jewel it is!!!