The rain we received Friday night was only an isolated Thunderstorm that parked over PFHQ for a refreshing shower. I had hoped Devils Hammock received a good dose too, because nothing would get the critters moving like rain after a drought.
Above, the first measurable rain, about one inch, since February.
Let's go take a look in Devil's Hammock.
We're going to walk down into a steeply sided old logging ditch that holds water in it's deepest holes even during a dry spell.
It also holds beaucoup smallish (under 6 feet) gators and one huge one.
Oh, ... and moccasins.
Lots of those, so watch your step.
Well, the rain definitely didn't make it here.
We're down in the deeper part of the ditch now. The sides are steep and cloaked in blackberry briars. This gets a little hairy, because before I clambered down the slope into the ditch bottom, I scanned the gator hole from the top of the road and could not see any sign of the big 'un.
She's around though, see the gator belly slide track heading to the water.
Watch that moccasin under the log ... he sees you even if you don't see him.
Yes, I know you're wondering how FC keeps his sneakers white when he tromps through brush, bramble, and mud.
If I told you, I'd have to kill you.
Try and stay focused, there's a big gator around here and we don't know where she is. That's her slide track bisecting the picture above from left to right.
We're closer now and still no sign of her. She could be off in the thick swamp to our left or soaking on the bottom of that pool.
She might be guarding a nest nearby in that swamp.
I'm not going in there to see if that's true.
It's pretty dim in here under the shade of the willows, so I used a little fill flash for the picture above. It'll help you count the little gators in the pool since some of them have reddish eyes.
Keep looking around while you count the juvies, because we still don't know where the queen is.
I can feel the hair on the back of my neck standing up, can't you?
The juvies are pretty crowded in this pool, but it's the only decent water for some distance, and it's off the beaten path where they can feel secure.
Well, "secure" until the big girl decides she's gotta eat.
Speaking of her, this is getting uncomfortable. There's too much cover around and pretty poor retreat options with the steep briar covered slopes around us.
I can't think of any picture worth getting eaten for ... let's back out of here.
Oh, and watch your step.