Thursday, March 1, 2012

Took Another Walk

I enjoyed my walk so much the other day I decided to heck with everything; packed my lunch, drove to Brazos Bend State Park & spent several hours walking around and visiting with the volunteers.  The morning started out very overcast, a little foggy/sprinkle, but it warmed up fast and at times the sun shone brightly (welcome back 70 degree temps!!).  This park was hit hard by the drought, but  received nearly 7 inches of rain (according to Weather Channel) in February. Brazos Bend is known for the alligators and I wasn't disappointed. 

I talked to a young man from out of state who had never been there & he was a little freaked out by the experience of walking within feet of an alligator - he was worried about the children who visit.  My reply.... everyone must be careful... this isn't a zoo.  They do keep baby alligators in the nature center for touching/petting and up close examination - but visitors need to remember this park belonged to the alligators first.  One of the signs (don't know if it is new) said - don't enter the water - leave the water for the alligators.  With that message in mind, there is no swimming or boating at this park (for good reason).  Hope you enjoy a few pictures from my latest walk. 

40 acre lake - nice to see all the water

bull alligator - missing front right foot
This poor guy - missing his front right foot, but it didn't stop him from running off a smaller alligator who got too close.  He seemed to be getting around fine & it looked to be an older, healed injury.  I'm assuming a boy/bull alligator - they are the ones who fight over territory & the women.

40 acre lake trail
My dilemma of the day:  do I pass these guys (the one was really really big - long & around - one of the biggest I've seen) or just turn around?  There was another alligator on the other side of the path just out of the frame.  The park volunteer in the background cruised through the alligators and no one moved an inch, so I took a deep breath & cruised through too.  The park said that the large (bull/boy) alligator wasn't from this lake - he was there to claim territory & females (all around him) - let the mating season begin.  I've seen a few large alligators at this lake, but usually they are further away.  I don't usually get freaked out walking this path, but this big guy did make me have second thoughts (maybe I looked too old & tough to eat).
a nice little patch of false garlic wildflowers already in bloom

Yikes!! Don't pick those flowers!!
I thought it was very nice of this alligator to lay his head in a patch of wildflowers.  Funny how a change in angle & focus reveals something totally different.  Although it wasn't like I was trying to totally hide him in the first picture.  I actually did this on purpose just for a little humor. 

This guy wouldn't move - Creekfield Lake
This nice park volunteer was there to assure visitors it was okay to walk past this guy.  He wasn't as big as the other one, but big enough.  He was especially menancing because he was laying in the sun with his mouth open (he was hot - they cool off by opening their mouth).  This is the Creekfield Lake path, right before the bridge - this is a heavily traveled path - also leads to the George Observatory.  There was a group of homeschoolers there & the adults were worried about the kids walking by (they were figuring out a clever way to keep the kids in single file & silent/quiet as they pass). 

another fallen tree
Sadly it looks as if another old-growth tree has fallen in the park.  I didn't ask if it was a result of the drought or old age, but it is sad to see.

white tailed deer
And towards the end of my last trail, walked up on 5 deer who were grazing in the woods.  The dirt trail was damp, so I was able to walk fairly quietly - they were startled, but stopped in this little clearing to look at me.  Wonder what he was thinking? 

With warmer & sunnier weather approaching, hope everyone gets a chance to go outside - it does wonders for calming your nerves.  For those who are interested - these were all SOOC, used my longest reaching lens (70-200) - of course - who would get those close to those gators?  Also curious - when you go out on a nature walk, do you carry 1 zoom lens or multiple lenses? What about a tripod?  Since I'm able to visit this park fairly often, I've decided to dedicate each walk to a certain type of photography - zoom, macro, landscape, etc. then carry only that lens (although most of the time I do carry a another short lens in a small bag - just in case).  I don't carry a tripod either - another thing on my list to master (right now it just frustrates me).


  1. Wow! That is one path I would never, ever NEVER walk down!!! You are brave.

    1. Thanks - but not that brave - I go by quickly, in the middle (never off into the grass) & use a long lens to take pictures. I only went by after someone else did first. These alligators are more or less used to people traffic in their habitat & there are strict rules - no feeding, so they don't associate people with food - no one has ever had a problem with an alligator attack (but then again there is a reason why dogs are only allowed a 6' long leash). Thanks for taking a minute to read my post & comment.