Alligator tracking chart

What’s that famous rule of photography?

If you set out in the morning to photograph a sea horse you’ll be searching all day (if not all year) to a fruitless end. On the other hand, if you have a camera ready, and without even looking run into a sea horse, in a flash you can snap a photo almost without even looking.

Gators are most abundant in the canal in spring,
but not every spring is the same.

Okay, I’ll admit I mangled that axiom …

But the same sort of applies to seeing gators at HP Williams Wayside.

Only instead of a camera you’ll want the handy hydrologic calendar above.

It pinpoints the exact stretch of time that gators seek low-water haven in the canal. During times of deep drought the stretch of canal along the boardwalk is one of the few areas in the swamp to stay wet. Alligators need that water to keep their body temperatures in check. In fact, the deep and extended droughts of the 1970s were one of the reasons why alligator numbers back them dropped.

Can you see how the water
is still over the canal bank?
March 2012

Last spring the canal was packed with gators …

But so far this year the density has been sparse.

Good to know they are out there in the swamp.

As for the sea horse we saw one at the beach this weekend.

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