Posts Tagged ‘alligators’

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” — C.S. Lewis   ” Every day is a good day to be alive.”– Marty Robbins

I think the alligators got me when I tried doing too many things. --Photo by Pat Bean

I think the alligators got me when I tried doing too many things. –Photo by Pat Bean

Time to Simplify I have to admit that the past two weeks have found me doing not much of anything worthwhile. I think it started when I wrote out a complete list of all the things I needed to do, should do, and wanted to do.

Anne Lamott advises writers to take things Bird by Bird in her excellent book. I think I'm going to try and follow that advise from now on. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Anne Lamott advises writers to take things Bird by Bird in her excellent book. I think I’m going to try to follow that advise from now on. — Photo by Pat Bean

After finishing the list, which took up about 50 lines in a notebook, I was suddenly too tired to do anything. For the next several days I played computer games, which prompted me to vow not to play computer games for the next 50 days. Then I watched TV programs on my computer for several days. I’m not sure what finally gave me a clue as to what my problem was, but clearly that impossible to accomplish list had mired me in a muddy pond thick with alligators. So I put the list aside, and went back to simply listing a few prioritized things that needed accomplishing on a daily to do list — and which I could reasonably complete and still have time left over for dawdling, reading and smelling the flowers. As if by magic, I recovered my energy. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think my brain gets a kick out of playing games with me.     

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Wildlife Sighting http://tinyurl.com/q57dgvv Take an armchair trip with this photographer as he watches a cougar drag its dinner up a cliff.

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“Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?” Rose Kennedy

This alligator was shot from the viewing platform in Wolfweed Wetlands and was more than a football field away. -- Photo by PatBean

This alligator was shot from the viewing platform in Wolfweed Wetlands and was more than a football field away. — Photo by PatBean

And a Hissing Alligator

It was a busy day for my son, who had chores, errands and Community Theater rehearsal – He’s playing Marley in an upcoming production of “A Christmas Carol.” But he chose to play hooky from them for a couple of hours on the last day of my visit with his Texas Gulf Coast family.

The magical path leading into Bpbcat Woods at San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The magical path leading into Bpbcat Woods at San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. — Photo by Pat Bean

We two passionate birders stuck out of the house early to continue our birding adventures, which had been rudely interrupted the day before by a heavily weeping storm. This day, which shone bright and clear with bird song echoing from the trees, the two of us headed to San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.

The birds were out in good numbers this morning, we noted, as their musical tweets came through the open windows of our vehicle. On the drive we saw a field of cattle egrets, which like yesterday’s scissor-tailed flycatchers were late in migrating south for the winter.

A great blue heron stood as still as a statue near a pond that we passed, and a magnificent broad-winged hawk atop a tall pole stayed in place as my son stopped and backed up the car so we could get a better look at it through our binoculars.

The hissing alligator. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The hissing alligator. — Photo by Pat Bean

I had only seen one other broad-winged hawk before so I was especially thrilled at this sighting. Our drive also turned up a flock of red-winged blackbirds and a few kestrels, which were just migrating back into the area for the winder.

At the refuge, we walked the refuge’s Bobcat Woods boardwalk, where we saw cardinals, ruby-crowned kinglets, eastern phoebes, red-bellied woodpeckers and yellow-bellied sapsuckers.

The plants, tree leaves and moss were thick along the boardwalk, letting us hear more than we saw. I surprised myself, however, that by sound I identified an orange-crowned warbler, whose sweet, single note call is so different from that of the single call of a yellow-rumped warbler.

Also identified by sound was a red-shouldered hawk, whose high-pitched keah, keah  screeches cannot be mistaken for anything else. We both spotted, at the same time, a cute belted-kingfisher flying low above a small stream. We both pointed and uttered the word “Look” at the same time, then we simply grinned at each other.

It was also a day for butterflies. You just never know what beauty will turn up in just a couple of stolen hours. -- Photo by Pa Bean

It was also a day for butterflies. You just never know what beauty will turn up in just a couple of stolen hours. — Photo by Pa Bean

It was when we had left the boardwalk, headed toward the viewing platform of the Wolfweed Wetlands that we were startled by a strange sound. I at first thought it might be a sudden gust of wind that had stirred the foliage.

Lewis, walking toward the sound to investigate, suddenly jumped back. It’s an alligator and it’s hissing at us. It certainly was, I saw, as I stepped closer to the small pond so I could take its picture. It wasn’t a big alligator; still we didn’t long in the area.

“I’ve never before been hissed at by an alligator,” Lewis said.

A little bit later, in another area of the refuge, Lewis was looking for rails in a reed-filled pond when he heard something popping into the water. He thought at first it was turtles, but on closer examination saw that it was baby alligators.

He left that area pretty quickly, perhaps because from the viewing platform that had looked out over a huge wetlands area we had spotted a second alligator – and it wasn’t small at all.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Jamaica Bay Shorebirds http://tinyurl.com/l83rlso A great birding photo blog

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“An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” – Edwin Land

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” – Sylvia Plath

Great blue heron hunting for its dinner along the Anhinga Trail in the Everglades.

Two Photographs

When I haven’t a clue as to what I’m going to write about, I first turn to my list of potential blog topics.

That didn’t work this time. In fact it might be time for me to clean up the long list as I didn’t understand half my suggestions. Bright ideas, I’ve discovered, often lose meaning if left stagnating too long.

There is also the fact that what you write one day will never be the same thing you will write about the next day. Our perceptions about the meaning of life, or whatever, are constantly changing. Knowing this, I think, is why I’m such a fanatic journal keeper.

"Won't you step into my Everglades parlor?" -- Photo by Pat Bean

Anyway, with my written list failing me, I turned to my photographs and came across two that actually turned on the electricity in my brain. One was of an alligator lying in wait for a meal, and the other was of a great blue heron quietly waiting for its dinner to come into reach.

The differences had me thinking how all living things on this planet have the same needs. And about where each of the species fit in the food chain.

The two photos also spoke to me of patience, a thing I seriously lack. Without a bit of patience, neither of these species would have their next meal.

Then I thought of the different reactions the two photos would elicit from viewers. Oohs and aahs for the heron of course, and probably some yucks for the alligator. When I post a photo of one of these reptiles I usually get an e-mail from a daughter-in-law telling me not to get too close.

Putting two unlike things together, according to some of the self-help books I’ve read, is a good way to spark one’s creativity. I haven’t done it much, but I’m now convinced I should do it more. I mean it got me off the hook for today’s blog.

Now I’m curious as to readers’ reactions to the two photos. Tell, please.

Bean’s Pat: A Word in Your Ear; http://tinyurl.com/74zt46m For those of us who miss too many sunsets.

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The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problem.” — Gandhi
Life works better if one doesn’t get between angry alligators. It’s sort of like the admonition not to dismiss dragons if you live near one.
Standoff in Georgia’s Okefenokee Swamp — Photo by Pat Bean

Maggie Post Script: The new medicine hasn’t arrived yet and she’s still in pain, but thankfully sleeping right now.  We both thank everyone for their kind wishes, and just wanted everyone to know we’re both hanging in there.


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“Looking back, you realize that a very special person passed briefly through your life, and that person was you.  It is not too late to become that person again.”   ~Robert Brault

Self Portrait

As I frequently point out, I’m a writer not a photographer. It’s a conscious decision to prioritize my life, which is already too full of the many things I do.  I’ve always wanted it all, but finally had to accept that each thing I do takes a chunk away from something else. 

Since writing is at the top of my important list,  I spend more time with a notepad than a camera.  To assure that I continue doing this, my only camera is a small pocket point-and-shoot. It’s a Canon PowerShot with a decent zoom and image stabilizer that is almost alwaays with me. It has no straps and I carry no tripod so it fits quite nicely in the right-hand pocket of my cargo pants.

Without any extra equipment, however, I was a little perturbed at this week’s photo challenge. I wasn’t sure I could take a decent  self-portrait. 

The problem must have been fermenting in my brain when I visited Brazos Bend State Park yesterday.  While I was standing on a pier that jutted into the water, taking photos of common moorhens and a big old alligator watching them from his tiny island outpost, the solution suddenly appeared below me.

Can you see me?

Self-Portrait -- Photo by Pat Bean

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Life's "no problem" when you're cruising Jamaica's Black River. -- Photo by Pat Bean


“Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” Groucho Marx

Travels With Maggie

Lonely Planet’s lead article in this month’s newsletter (http://www.lonelyplanet.com/us) features one day itineraries for five cities: Barcelona, Toronto, London, Paris and Istanbul.

I wanted to both scream and cry at the audacity of such a notion. The thought of spending so few hours in these fabulous cities, which I’ve not yet visited, made me quite sad.

Then I thought about places I’ve visited when circumstances only allowed me a single day, like Jamaica, Guayaquil, Fairbanks, Glacier National Park and Nairobi. While each of these places deserved more than a mere day to explore, there would be some big holes left in my experiences if I had missed them.

George, the alligator that responded to the Black River boatman's summons. Honest! -- Photo by Pat Bean

In Jamaica, which I visited while on a Caribbean Christmas cruise, I spent several hours in a giggley-jiggly bus with a guide explaining the sights and Jamaica’s “no problem mon” attitude, then took a float trip down the Black River where egrets ganged up in mangrove trees and an alligator named George came at the boatman’s call. Honest.

Guayaquil was the Ecuadorian starting point for my trip to the Galapagos Islands. Here I was served chicken and watermelon for breakfast at the quaint Andaluz Hotel before taking a walk on the city’s beautiful Waterfront Parkway. That night I watched the stars come out from a rooftop restaurant that overlooked the Guayas River.

In Fairbanks, Alaska, I spent a night at a quaint bed-and-breakfast and then the better part of the next day at the fantastic University of Alaska Museum before moving on to Denali National Park .

Glacier National Park in Montana was a detour when I drove the Alaskan Highway. The main event here was simply driving the awesome and scenic 57-mile Going to the Sun Highway. The frosting on the  entrée was a grizzly bear that stopped traffic. Fortunately my halt offered a good view of this magnificent creature.

Nairobi, Kenya, was the starting point for my magnificent two-week African safari. Here I stayed in the same hotel favored by Ernest Hemingway, explored the grounds of the University of Nairobi, which was just next door, and toured the home (now a museum) of Karen Blixen, alias Isek Dineson and author of “Out of Africa.”

I guess if that’s all you have, one day is quite enough. But I sure hope that if I ever get to Lonely Planet’s big five that I have more than 24 hours to linger.

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An anhinga drying its wings. You'll be sure to see this bird along the Anhinga Trail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

“There are no other Everglades in the world … Nothing anywhere else is like them … the racing free saltness and sweetness of the their massive winds, under the dazzling blue heights of space …. The miracle of the light pours over the green and brown expanse of saw grass and of water, shining and slow-moving below … It is a river of grass.” — Marjory Stoneman Douglas, The Everglades: River of Grass, 1947

Turtles and a cormorant face off for space along the trail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Turtles and a comorant face off for space along the trail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The 0.8 mile boardwalk trail is named for the anhinga, a waterbird that swims with only its long neck and head above water. This can give it the appearance of a snake about to strike, hence it’s nickname snakebird. We saw plenty of these birds along the trail, but many other birds as well.

If you go, be sure and stay on the trail. There are more than birds that call this area of the Everglades home.



Beware the jaws that snatch. Photo by Pat Bean



  Everglades National Park

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