Monday, April 15, 2013

Rogue Gator and Common Grackle

Thank you all so much for your wonderful words on my last post about panic attacks! The suggestions and empathy really helped. :)

Our day at Lake Martin on Friday was awesome, starting with a little drama. When we arrived, Double D pulled over on the gravel road that borders the lake―a little too close to the water in my opinion. As soon as I stepped out of the car (on the water side) and ventured a few steps, an alligator zoomed towards us at an alarming rate, much faster than normal, with us as its target. As it twisted its body I suddenly sensed danger. All those hours devoted to watching Swamp People finally came in handy! I quickly snapped off two shots then ran to the drivers side yelling at Double D to make his own break, and climbed up on the roof of the car with my camera. Whew. I took one last parting shot, making our way further down to the nesting herons, shaken and grateful to still have all our limbs intact. Our eyes were constantly searching and ears listening, for any other rogue gators the remainder of the day. It took a while for our hearts to return to a normal rate. Exhilarating!
I apologize for the glare, but as you can see from the ripple she's leaving behind, I had little time to react.
This shot was taken right as she was about to roll. That's when I made a mad dash back to the car.

Shot from the roof of the car. No cropping. Her face is resting on the bank.
Message received!
Below are shots I took of a Common Grackle. There is nothing common about them in my opinion. I think they are beautiful when the sun hits them just right.


I caught a couple of images like this with the eye acting weird.




The dragonfly appears to be leaving a contrail behind, but it's actually vegetation.


36 comments:

Chatty Crone said...

I love the gators... sandie

Karen said...

Yikes...I do wish you'd be more careful ;) I don't think I would have had the nerves to click a couple of shots! I too like the grackle's colouring.

Mitzi said...

I've had one of those gator experiences...fortunately for me, it went in the other direction...still sent my heart all a flutter for quite some time afterwards. The grackles are stunning creatures and their colors are exquisite. Big hugs & so glad you made the great escape!

Stephanie said...

Oh wow, what a close call with the gator! The Common Grackles are quite pretty :) Thanks for sharing.

Hugs,
Stephanie

TexWisGirl said...

the gators would definitely freak me out! i'll stay with my moccasins and copperheads, thanks!

the grackles are beauties. loved the last shot w/ the dragonfly in the frame! the nictitating membrane is always freaky to me. :)

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

That was a very large gator!! Growing up in central Fla. on the St. Johns River - we don't like gators at all. They killed all our ducks, dogs, anything that ventures too close to shore! We ate a lot of gator tail!! they really need to have open season on them. People don't realize that they can go 35 MPH a short distance and climb over chain link fences to get a dog!! Have the pictures!! Glad you didn't fool around and were causious.
Lovely grackle!! such a deep blue!

Rosie Grey said...

I'm glad you escaped that gator! She doesn't look friendly at all - much too close for my liking... ;-)
The can be so fast, I didn't know that, but saw it on TV...
I love the Common Grackles - so beautiful and shiny!
Have a wonderful week, Gail!

Renae at simple sequins said...

Ahhhhh that alligator could have bit your tires! hahahaha. Too close for my comfort. The Common Grackle are very pretty. I loved seeing them and frankly have never heard of them. Have a great day/week/captures, etc. (hug)

ladyfi said...

Wow - that was a close encounter indeed1 Beautiful shots.

She Who Carries Camera said...

OMG! My heart raced just reading about the croc! I can just imagine how you guys felt! The grackle is stunning and those certainly do look like contrails...perfectly placed! Once again...super shots!

Richard Pegler said...

I'm not sure that I'd be happy with such a close encounter with a gator, Gail. Splendid shots though, so well done you!!

However, my greatest admiration is for those shots of the Grackles. They are absolutely stunning (the images and the birds!)!! As a foreigner, I've only seen them in books and had no idea that they could be so iridescent.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I bet that was a Mama Gator with babies in the nest. We had a similar experience on the Gulf Coast of Texas once -- I have a pic with the same expression on her face...and from the safety of the car we did see the babies.

Terri said...

That was a tad bit too close for me- I like to see those gators way off in the middle- or not at all!

Linda said...

Okay, girl. We need to talk about when you should have panic attacks. A 'gator encounter is a good time for one. But you had the presence of mind to snap pictures! Were you clinging to the roof of the car, taking pictures, as DD was driving away? Lovely shots of the grackle. That last one appears to be fascinated by the dragonfly's contrail.

Kerry said...

You took a couple of shots and THEN you ran? You, my dear, are a true photographer. Next time consider running first, then taking shots:)
(The gater looks bummed that you got away; next time she'll go even faster.)

Your grackles are as beautiful as peacocks. I love these.

Deanna said...

Holy moly, that would have scared the sh_ _ out of me, no question. My hands would be shaking to the point where I wouldn't even be able to hold a camera, let alone take a picture. Danger, danger. However, I must disagree with you on the grackle. I find him to be quite annoying, hogging the bird-feeder, dropping his droppings in the bird-baths. No, no matter how the sun shines on this critter, he is not a fav with me.

Linda R said...

Oh my goodness.. I would have wet my pants if that happened to me. I am such a chicken liver. Such great shots my friend and so glad to hear you guys still have all your limbs..

Hugs~

eileeninmd said...

Wow, the gators freak me out. I saw so many in Florida. Beautiful capture of the Grackles. The last shot is cool!

dinascitywildlife.com said...

You caught their color so perfect. They really are beautiful birds and pretty comical.

David Oliver said...

That sounds scary. I have never seen a wild gator & I want to keep it that way. Great shots, be careful out there.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Photographing the Grackle after the alligator experience seems rather calm.I would rather shoot birds than be chased by a gator.Glad it all ended well.

hootnonny said...

Everything needs food! But glad it wasn't you. The Grackle gracks me up!

Brian King said...

Awesome, although I'm glad you didn't get surprised by the gator! Love the grackle shots! They do have great colors in the right light. I've taken several photos of birds with the nictating membrane in the halfway position. I've seen it a lot with doves and some with herons.

Evelyn S. said...

I'm with you...nothing "common" about the grackle. Fascinating bird. And those eyes!!

Hilary said...

Ummm.. I'm beginning to understand the root of your panic attacks. YIKES! That close encounter would have had me leaving a contrail of my own and it wouldn't be pretty. Your photos on the other hand are gorgeous. Love your colourful gracks.. they are indeed amazing in the sunlight.

Buttons said...

I am with Hilary. I am having a huge panic attack looking at and reading this. Don't do that again I do not like it. Stick with the beautiful Crackle OK please. B

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

The grackle is handsome. In college there was a tree right outside my dorm room where about 50 grackles liked to reside. No one would park there because their car would get covered in grackle poop overnight. They made tons of noise too!

Stewart M said...

I do like the con trail dragon fly - and your right the Grackles do look good.

Glad you escaped the gator!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

PS: I can only hope this week gets better.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

OMGosh...I'd be peeing in my britches!!! But the images Gail, you are so brave....and they're outstanding.

The iridescence of Grackles is just breathtaking!!!

Jori said...

YIKES!!!!! So glad you were paying attention, and didn't let him eat you. You are right, with that wake, he was moving at a good pace. Awesome photo's! They gave me the chills. Thank you for identifying another bird for me. I have seen the common grackle in my yard, and was wondering what they were. :)

Amy Burzese said...

Gail. Don't. Do. That. Again.
And the grackle is gorgeous.

rainfield61 said...

The first half is adventurous.

The second half is calm.

Relief...

bailey-road.com said...

Great gator shots! You're braver than I am.
Grackles are attractive birds.

Donna said...

Fab pictures all around...scary though with that gator. Not for the faint of heart to get that picture..and you captured the beauty of the grackle.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

The Common Grackle looks sensational - love those opal look satin colours.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

How cool!!! A gator! I have only seen one in the wild in my entire life.