Gator & Grackle  
I was watching a Grackle nest waiting for the mother to come feed her chicks when this Juvenile Black-Crowned Night Heron flew in and along came an Alligator. Talk about distractions! The blurry brown bird flying is a female grackle. The clear bird in the water is the night heron.
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron, American Alligator, and Flying Female Grackle in the Wetlands
The alligator crept up on shore. I thought it was going to go after one of the birds nearby, but instead it tipped its head sideways and took a bite of mud. Mud? I didn't think gators got rabies, but something odd was sure going on with this one!
Alligator creeps onshore
American Alligator Takes A Bite Of Mud
What kind of alligator eats mud?
Alligator drooling mud
It gets nuttier. Next this silly gator seemed to turn vegetarian and eat the Spatterdock.
Alligator eating spatterdock
Alligator eating spatterdock
Drooling mud, the gator turned back toward the water:
I'm glad I got the pictures, because without them this story doesn't pack the punch that it did in person!
Alligator with mud in its mouth
Alligator coming at me
Alligator Teeth
It was getting dark when all of this took place at the wetlands, and those of us standing by speculated about what was attracting this gator, but until I got home and reviewed the pictures I wasn't sure. If you're very fond of chicks, don't scroll back through this page. If you missed it, scroll up and look at the bottom left of many of the photographs. There is a young Grackle chick on the ground. It wasn't moving before the gator came out of the water, and I noticed that the plants were mashed below the nest but were not the first couple of times I saw the nest. I suspect that some creature, this one or another, tried to get the chicks, took one, but dropped it under attack from the parent Grackles. That's just my best guess though.
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