I couldn’t leave Florida without photographing an alligator. I saw gators in several places, including the pond behind our hotel. But, on the last day of our trip, we visited the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Fort Myers, Florida, an enchanting forest of cypress, ferns, and otherworldly vegetation and animal sounds. The Slough is traversed via a series of boardwalks over this primitive area and punctuated by ponds that are alive with birds and reptiles. At the Otter Pond, we watched and listened to a cacophony of birds like egrets, herons, hawks, anhingas, pileated woodpeckers, owls, limpkins, kingfishers, wood ducks, and ibis. All the while these birds hunted along the edges of the pond or swam on it, an alligator lurked nearby. We spent about 3 hours in the Preserve, most of it at the Otter Pond but although the gator surfaced every once in a while, we didn’t witness the disappearance of any of the birds at the pond…that must have come either before or after our visit.