Monday, March 23, 2009

Alachua Sink and Payne's Prairie

I've been to Payne's Prairie many times, but always on the Highway 441 side, so I have missed the spectacular scenery and gatornicity of the Alachua Sink portion of the preserve.
For those of you in other climes, Payne's Prairie is a 21,000 acre prairie just outside of Gainesville, Florida.
As is common in Florida, it is a wet prairie that varies from dry and brushy to flooded marsh. In the 1800's, the sinkhole that drains the prairie became clogged, and the "prairie" became a lake for about 18 years.

Last week, my extremely perky buddy Cindy shared some gatory photos she had taken at the Alachua Sink and they were amazing.
After seeing her pics, I knew what I was doing on Saturday morning.

Here's a view of Alachua Sink. Count the gators.
Panning left or right would have revealed similar numbers.

Most gators in the sink were big'uns and well fed.

It's weird living with dinosaurs.

Spring break at the beach.
Sometimes it gets pretty crowded.

This is Payne's Prairie ... or at least a partial view of the prairie.
The wild horses were visible off in the distance as mere equinaspecs, so I didn't make a serious attempt at photographing them.

I took so many gator shots ... huge ones, medium ones, small ones, duckweed covered ones, baby ones, ... they were everywhere.
Tomorrow I'll share some views of a Momma gator and her babies.
I was joking yesterday about changing the name of this blog to "Pure Alligator". I didn't, but I am starting a new blog (not yet published) by that name. It will be mostly pictures a couple times a week for those who need a weekly gator fix.
I won't be able to comment back and forth there, but I will read and enjoy 'em if you leave 'em.
This is my conversational blog and I do love it, I just couldn't keep up with more than one blog's worth of witty banter.
I'll let you know when Pure Alligator hits the web.


Anonymous said...

Most excellent! And cool idea! And if you need a contributor for "Pure Alligator", I do have the ability to suffocate you with gator shots! ;)
Cheers, Klaus

cinbad122 said...

If I had a camera as good as yours I would have those awesome pics too! Or are they cropped?

Sharon said...

Wow!! These sure beat the puny ones I shot at Hannah Park yesterday LOL

Anonymous said...

I was coming home to Gainesville from Miami one year and when we started across the prairie someone said "you know what they say, when you cross the prairie you're almost home." I think about that everytime I drive north across the prairie and it's been over 37 years.

Can't wait for the new blog.


ChrisC and JonJ said...

We have one that lives in our lake.And about 20 years ago,they took a 16 footer out of it(grand-daddy of this one?).That's enough for me.I have respect.

Dave Coulter said...

Our prairies don't have gators! :)

misti said...

We went up there in late January and loved it. We were able to see the whopping cranes as they flew by and enjoyed the wonderful cacaphony of the sandhill cranes in the midst of a foggy morning. Good stuff!

Alan said...

That's a lot of gator...

Plenty of targets for Seminole spears. :)

Ol' Lurker said...

"Gatornicity?" I learn something new every time I visit.

SophieMae said...

This is why DS no longer tags along when I cruise the refuge. I never tire of shooting gators and they're a huge yawn factor for him. Kinda like getting excited over another blade of grass. 8-}

Dani said...

Can't wait to have another blog of yours to visit!

Laura said...

"you know what they say, when you cross the prairie you're almost home."

Patti, that comment made me smile. I used to think exactly the same thing, as soon as we saw the sign for Micanopy, and then, finally, the stretch of prairie coming up. I'd breathe a sigh of relief having left South Fla behind us!
(Unfortunately, we're living back in South Fla, again. But you never forget the feeling! *sigh*)

FC, do you remember the year that the prairie had so much water, that the gators were climbing up onto the bank along I-75? I think this was sometime back in the late 80's or early 90's. There were a few accidents caused by drivers who lost control of their cars, either swerving out of the way, or not paying attention.

Looking forward to seeing your new Gator blog!

Bill said...

Go FC Go Gators!

I think you are being slowly converted.


Thunder Dave said...

Excellent! Well, know that you know how to get there we'll have to check it out next time around! ;-)

CHEF TROLL said...

Florida-Focused Troll Poll. Curious what you and your minions (readers) think.

Susan Rose said...

I think I've figured out why gators are so interesting. It's their cuteness factor combined with their monster factor. Put those together, and you have some "really cool dudes."

Floridacracker said...

Good idea. I should have a guest shot feature.

You just have to go with me sometime.

I bet they are great. Gotta go look.

I get that feeling at the Waccasassa.

Chris and Jon,
16! That is a dino!

Want some?

I could hear sandhills in the distance.

They bounce off.

Ol Lurker,
Just trying to keep the mother tongue young. :)

Dolphins, gators, manatees ... never get tired of them.

I must be insane! But thank you.

I do! I remember that wistfully ... so dry here now.

I do like the real ones best tho.

I can't believe I got here after you left.
Next time!

Went there did that!

Good point! Maybe that is it!

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Anonymous said...

Doubt it. It's the photographer, not the camera, and this comment (besides being rude) screams amateur.