On the way out of the refuge last Sunday, I was listening to a little Jimmy Buffett mix that Emma had made for me when my gatordar went off.
Sure enough, there was a six footer lounging in a creek just ahead. I inched the JEEP forward until I was just opposite the gator and shot a few still photos.
I wanted to try some video, without the rumbling of the JEEP's mighty 4 cylinder engine, so I took a chance and shut it off.
For some reason, that often spooks whatever critter I happen to be shooting from the JEEPblind.
This gator was in no mood to leave however, so I sat there awhile watching him, alternately shooting a little video or stills.
When I first turned off the JEEP, out of habit I turned the key so the CD player could continue to play Jimmy.
Without meaning to, I created a musical soundtrack to the video which, to me, seems pretty appropriate.
So, I'll share it with you and apologize to Jimmy for using a wee bit of his work without asking.
I love this gator's toothy open maw. That's not the usual pose that I find them in, but it was a warm day and this guy might have been ventilating.
When I stepped out of the JEEP to try for a closer shot at a new angle, he turned in a flash and submerged. There was a culvert under the road nearby and I dashed over to it thinking that's where he was headed.
I was right, but the light wasn't right. The water was shallow and clear though, and it was pretty cool to stand on that culvert and watch all six feet of this gator slowly slip into the dark tube.
I think he feels at home down there.