Monday, May 10, 2010

Cabbages and Kings

"The guys" have been telling me for two years that Gatorland is a photographer's paradise, and indeed have brought back the photos to prove it. So one lovely Sunday morning a few weekends ago, friend Marilyn and I headed over to see for ourselves. It has been 40 years since I visited Gatorland, and boy, has it changed! Gatorland was the brainchild of Mr. Godwin, who financed its creation in the 1940s by loading a big alligator into a trailer and hauling it up the east coast, charging folks a nickle to peek at the critter. If I recall correctly, Gatorland was originally about 6 acres - it is now about 116 acres, much of it swamp full of alligators and what seems to be thousands of birds. You wander through on excellent boardwalks, and there is also a little train with a driver/guide. It is still a family-owned business, with the four Godwin children in charge. Folks that work there are "down home" friendly. The bird rookery is stunning, and you'll see nearly as many photographers as birds! These are Florida birds, so of course they strike a pose every time they see a lens pointed towards them. I'll do a full trip report for Space Coast Eco one of these days soon, but here are a couple of my photos - not the quality of those by Jim, Matt, and Charlie, but I sure had fun taking them. (click to enlarge.) Check their web site for entry fees, hours, specials, etc.
Speaking of birds, Margie writes that the terns and skimmers are returning to Cocoa Beach. Faithful readers will recall the skimmers that nested on the beach last year. So far, no nests on the beach this year, but the signs and the monitors are ready.

Sea turtle nesting season started officially on May 1, so if you live along the beach, remember that sea turtles dig the dark!
We are all so in hopes that the oil spill does not impact our beaches or our critters. David McCree has a couple of excellent posts on his Blog The Beach (see link below) about the oil spill status and where to get up-to-date information. Ludi, beach blogger for the Orlando Sentinel (see link below), reports that two birds rescued from the Gulf oil spill were released today at Pelican Island just to the south of us.
That's it for now - time to go watch the Orlando Magic sweep the Atlanta Hawks! GO MAGIC!
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Cactus Jack Splash said...

Praying your beaches and critters are safe from the oil spill.

Caroline said...

That'd be one crazy set of dentures on that guy!
He would fit right in with our SD jackalopes and concrete dinosaurs, don't you think?