The water was very clear.
A mana “tee” heading for the bridge.
This one looks like he was covered in hairs.
Tourists swimming with the manatees.
Lots of manatees were close to the bridge in the park.
Coming up for air.
Through the glass at the underwater viewing area.
This big guy should be under water. He was warming himself up as the sun was hitting the gravel.
A few pictures from my annual winter trip to Homosassa Springs Wildlife Life Park. An hour north of Tampa, this park has a lot of fun animals including tons of manatees that head into the warm springs to stay warm for the winter. You can take a boat out and swim with the manatees or just walk over them on a bridge. You can get up close here without getting wet. The park is full of birds, both wild and permanent residents that are injured. More on those later.
A few muscovy ducks showing off.
The great egrets are starting to get that lime green color around their eyes. That means it’s mating time already.
Cormorants were fighting for nesting spots high up in the trees.
There’s a small rookery in a north Tampa neighborhood that is covered with nests in the spring. I found out about this little pond late last spring and most of the babies were almost grown up. I was near the area and stopped by to see if there were any babies yet in late January. I guess it’s still too early for the egrets and storks to be nesting. Even though the eagles and owls already have them, the water birds are a little later. I’ll check back in late March.
Synchronized preening vultures.
One of the parents from very far away. Last year this nest lost both babies. I never heard what had happened. I have heard there are two again this year.
Looks like a couple to me. I think the one on the left is a female. I’ve read they have a brown fleck necklace around the chest.
First time I’ve seen a kestrel at this park.
Woodpecker inside a palm tree.
Cutest critters at the park.
I had not been to Honeymoon Island in a long time. I went to see all of the usuals but it was still too early to be able to see babies yet. If they were there, they were still to small to see from the nest. I found the owl nest but the parent had been sleeping on the nest all morning. I heard here were eagle babies but they were still too small to see from as far away as we could get (over 500 feet is roped off at this park from the trail). No osprey babies yet as well. This was the end of January so another trip in early March is in the plan. After several days of rain, it was nice to get out and walk in the sun.
Snowy egrets in the wind.
Fishing in knee deep water.
Snowy egrets ignoring the great egret that showed up.
White ibis with a dirty beak.
A reddish egret that is all white ( white morph version). Not common but there has been one hanging around Fort Desoto for a while now.
He’s got a pretty face.
Looking for fish.
Another cormorant with a hook in his beak. There was a guy at the pier that was going to try to catch him but the cormorant was still flying pretty well.
A white and brown bird, the osprey was guarding the nest on top of the old tower near the fishing pier.
I saw the above lying on the beach. The red really stood out on the sand.
A few things I saw on a Saturday morning walk at Fort Desoto Park.
So far it’s been a mild winter here. I think I’ve worn a coat to work only once. Some days it’s sunny and 60 degrees like it was on this day in early February. It was windy though. I stopped by the fishing pier in Safety Harbor to see what was flying around. Not much flying but I noticed the flowers around the picnic area were still blooming. I guess that’s why I’m still sneezing in the winter here. Things are still blooming.
Nesting is in full swing for the osprey in the area. I don’t think they have eggs yet since they both left the nest at the same time for a while.
It looks like they were working on getting it comfy.
One of them kept bringing in more insulation.
Night herons always sleep along the boardwalk at this park.
Funny face. An anhinga staring at me.
Northern shovelers were close to the bank.
Another funny face.
The usual palm warbler. The trail was full of them.
A few robins were hanging around.
Is that parrot waving at me?
A Saturday morning walk at Largo Nature Preserve.