2022—Lurking in the Lilies

Moose said, “we’re not going to stop to photograph alligators.” That was fine with us. We had a sensational three days with our target species, the Snail Kite. Gator hunting is a big deal in Florida and apparently Lake Kissimmee has some prized big ones. Luckily it wasn’t gator season when we were out on the lake — at least we didn’t encounter any hunters. We saw a few small gators as we buzzed around and we didn’t slow down, let alone stop, for any of them. But this one, lurking in the lilies and the floating pennywort, was by far the largest we saw. Our captain thought it was a ten foot gator. Then, on our second pass around the floating island, Captain Mark announced that it was probably twelve feet, a monster. We didn’t stop specifically to photograph it. I can’t recall why we stopped briefly but we got pretty close to this big gator in our airboat and I thought I’d get a shot. And, with a 700mm reach on my camera, I could barely fit its entire head into the frame let alone any of its body. So, whether it was ten feet or twelve feet, it was big enough. Although a few of its teeth are barely visible, I was happy that we never saw its gaping maw.

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