Spring Bloom

Spring Bloom
Spring Bloom

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Homosassa Springs State Park - Up Close and Personal

My amazing manatee tour was over before noon.  Since scallops are my favorite seafood and Crystal River calls itself the Scallop Capital of Florida, I wanted to be sure and experience them gastronomically. And Cindy told me to be sure and go to Homosassa Springs State Park because I would be able to get some fantastic wildlife pictures there. I planned to visit the park for most of the afternoon, then eat an early dinner before driving the three hour trip home.

So I told her goodbye - she was headed back to Vierra Wetlands where she was planed to spend more time with the nesting Great Blue Herons (See her blog entry on her first visit) - and drove south about ten miles to the park. The day was dreary but the park was exceptional. But all too soon, the rain started. I ran to the shelter where tram riders wait until the rain abated, then walked back to my car and drove to the local library where I edited some of my pictures before dozing off.

 I woke to find the sky clearing, so packed up and went back to the park. This time I was able to get lots of pictures, a few of which were worth keeping. This is a really fun place to photograph birds and other wildlife.  And it is a manatee refuge for injured manatees, some of which can't be released. Its springs also attract both manatees and salt water fishes to the warm springs so manatees are visible fairly closeup.

My first and last stops were at the underwater room - right in Homosassa Springs.  The manatees were off feeding so I didn't see any from here. But in the evening, I took the pictures I used in my last blog on the way back to here. It was still awesome to see the salt water fish swimming in small to large schools around and around the underwater room.

This is the top of the "fish bowl" -  steps inside lead down to magical views




Then I started around the park and walked along the Homosassa River.  There was lots of splashing going on and then I saw manatee rear flippers. A park docent said we were seeing manatees mating. I took several pictures of the splashes and sometimes was able to see a little of the manatees.

Manatees in love

I made it to the viewing platform for the Florida panther by the time it started to rain.



When I got  back in the late afternoon, I mostly focused on the birds. The living is so good that lots of local birds share the caged bird's food and it is hard to tell who is captive and who is free.

Roseate Spoonbill

Snowy egret

Woodduck

Woodstork
I'm so pretty

Especially wearing a feather boa

Whooping Crane

Bald Eagle

Red-tailed hawk pair

Barred Owls

Barn Owls

Burrowing Owl

Breeding Brown Pelicans

Bathing green-wing teal

Daytime sleeper
All too soon it was closing time and I left to gorge on scallops before starting home. This is a wonderful place and well worth a visit. And you will have time to visit other close-by parks or take a tour out into Kings Bay.