|Bird's eye view of Gatorland from the three story tower observatory.|
When I returned to Florida a year later I knew I was going to visit Gatorland again. This visit was even better. There was a threat of rain and some sprinkles now and then, but I decided to go anyway. I arrived just after 4pm on this overcast day, not expecting much and thinking I might even get rained out. I was greeted at the ticket booth with the news that since the park was closing in less than two hours admission was half price. Sweet!
I stopped and talked to the lady selling hot dogs to feed to the gators. We talked about the storms that had been in the area (there was a tropical storm coming in from the gulf). She mentioned that it was mating season for the gators and they were sometimes more active during overcast and rainy times.
I decided to walk through the outdoor parts while the rain held off. I stopped and fed the Emu's on the way toward the back of the park. The Emu's are so funny. Check out this Emu Feeding Time video!
|Emu Closeup (photo taken at Gatorland, Orlando, FL)|
It's amazing to watch the herons, egrets and other birds nesting, preening and frolicking in the trees, nearly oblivious to a quiet visitor. This isn't at all like watching birds in a zoo. These birds choose to live and breed here, they have built their nests where they chose and there's no cage to hold them. The birds are lively and lovely.
Want to hear the sound? Check out this Alligator Mating Call video. It can't quiet compare to hearing it in person, but you'll get an idea of what it sounds like.
|Gator Mating Call|
Instead of feeling further away from everything it gave you a sense of the scope of nature. It was cool to see the gators swimming individually or in small groups from this height. It was also neat to see the trees dotted with bright white egrets. But the best surprise seen from the observatory was a being able to look down into a nest built in a tree very close to the top level of the observatory.
There was a pair of Double-crested Cormorants in the tree. One was on the nest and one was nearby on the same branch. I didn't take much notice of them at first, but after taking a look around I went back and realized they had young, featherless chicks in the nest.
The young ones were hungry and squawking for food! Such a site. Take a look at this Double-crested Cormorant Family video.
|Double-crested Cormorant chick|
|American Alligator at Gatorland Orlando.|