The sun had set and it was getting dark, so I started to put my camera away but paused when I noticed the waters of the freshwater lagoon weren’t as quiet as they first appeared. This environmental portrait of an alligator swimming with only its head above water is one of my favorites of these magnificent creatures.
Already masters of hiding in the swamp, this alligator went the extra mile by covering its head in plants. Either that or it’s the worst toupee I’ve ever seen.
As the sun rose, I noticed a group of alligators in this marshy section of the freshwater lagoon at Huntington Beach State Park but didn’t realize why they were there. Then one suddenly lurched forward and scooped up a little crab from the mats of organic material (algae? bacteria?) floating in the water, and then another did it, and another. It was remarkable how quickly they would go from floating motionless to catching the crabs and back to floating motionless.
The golden light of the rising sun begins filtering through the trees, illuminating a treasure hidden in the marsh.
An eastern fence lizard, clinging to the vertical face of a tree, nearly blends into the background. It looked up at me for a moment, I suppose to determine if it had been spotted (it had) and if it was going to be eaten (it wasn’t).
An American alligator relaxes near sunrise in a freshwater lagoon in Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina in 2005.
Though not a true chameleon, the green anole is sometimes referred to as the American Chameleon because it can change its color, from brown as shown here to a brilliant green.