Several hours after we began, we finally emerged at the other end of the Black Pond Wildlife Drive. We drove back up the main road and over to the visitor's center, where we hoped to spot some songbirds. Unfortunately the place was pretty much overrun with Red-winged black birds and Boat-tailed grackles. Not that I hold any sort of a grudge against blackbirds, but I see those at home!
We crossed the creek behind the center and paused at the observation deck. Floating in the water near the bridge was this cooter, either a Peninsular or Suwannee, I am not sure which. It was perhaps 10 to 12 inches long.
I went back to the bridge to get a top-down shot. I love the algae that rims its shell.
It would prove to be the trail of reptiles. Out into the woods the walkway led us, to another pond and observation deck. There a gator rested in the sunny waters.
On the way back towards the center Lori spotted this anole sprawled out on a cattail frond.
I think its golden ochre color is just gorgeous, and here you can see some green and turquoise around its eye.
Not sure what it was watching but it flipped around on its perch, paused and then leapt away.
We found a picnic table near the parking lot in the shade of a large live oak and settled in for some lunch. Again Lori spotted a lizard, this one of unknown variety, on a palm frond under the oak, showing off for the ladies.
Lori wanted to catch one and bring it home!
(Lori thinks this may be a Cuban brown anole, a non-native species.)