Lots of beauties, cuties and beasts – Skywatch Friday

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These flowers are popping up at all of the parks. It’s always a sign of summer around here.

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I haven’t seen a ladybug in a long time.

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A tiny gator taking a break.

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Vultures were eating a big turtle close to the trail. Since they only eat dead animals, something must have happened to the turtle. It might have been sick.

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Face to face with a small gator. I was not close. This is extremely cropped.

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Turtles are everywhere.

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We found a big gator family. I think we counted 13 babies. There may have been more. They must have been very young. They were tiny and were climbing all over each other.

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Mom was close by, right up against the trail.

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Another pile close by.

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A little bit older but still young. A few weeks after taking these, the preserve closed down Marsh Rabbit Run trail due to the gator mating activity. They can be very aggressive and will come up on the trail more often during mating season. With all of those new babies, the moms are going to be very aggressive protecting them. One or both of the main trails usually close each summer. This year was early. It should open back up around September once all of those hormonal gators calm down and go back to sleeping all day.

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The cormorant tree. Some days it’s a snowy egret tree. Or an ibis tree. It changes every trip.

Another cloudy morning. It went back and forth looking like it was going to pour and then the sun would peak out for a few minutes. A least it was still cool in late March. I think all of the alligators got the memo to show up this morning. The trails were full of them. Most of the big ones were way down in the marsh.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday