Following up with the study on American alligator nests in Everglades National Park, I was able to get up in the helicopter with Mark Parry again this month to check up on the nests we surveyed in late July. The plan was to conduct aerial surveys to determine which nests were flooded, hatched, still incubating, or predated upon.
Besides being important indicators for Everglades’ health, which Mark explains in the video, baby alligators might possibly be the cutest things to ever come out of an egg. Their disarming grunts, squishy yolk-filled bellies, and gummy jaws make it hard to fathom they're the same "man-eaters" people consider them today. I imagine t-rex hatchlings were just as adorable, though. Even April was getting attached to her little friend. I'm pretty sure if Mark and I weren’t there, she would have slipped one into her pocket.
We planned on being in the air the whole day, but luckily we had some opportunities to land the helicopter and investigate a couple nests. Unfortunately, however, with the majority of our time spent circling nests and banking to get better views, my stomach was in revolt. Maybe it was the leftover fajitas I had that morning, maybe it was the awkward perspective shifts of looking through the wide-angle lens,
whatever the case, I was on the cusp of decorating the side of the helicopter several times. I kept my mouth shut and just hoped I could hold out in time for lunch. Next time, I'll bring Dramamine. Here's the newest video, check it out!