Fun at the zoo in early June. The manatees are back at the zoo which is good and bad thing. The zoo has been updating their water system in the manatee hospital so any injured manatees had to go to Homosassa Springs for rehabilitation for 6 months. Now that the manatee hospital is updated they can take in injured manatees. The bad thing is that the manatees have to be here at all. It’s great that visitors can see these big guys up close and that the zoo treats them but it’s sad that so many are injured due to boat strikes or sick from red tide.
On top of the manatee pool, a few juvenile blue herons are learning how to catch their own fish. These were all probably born in the nests over the alligator exhibit next door.
Vultures were drying off in the bear exhibit. They do this in the morning to easily warm their body up. Not sure why, it was already 85 degrees at 10am. The bear eventually came over to check them out. The vultures didn’t fly off but just moved over. They didn’t seem to scared of the bear.
The last of the wild baby blue heron birds that were growing up over the alligator exhibit.
Birds hanging around the fishing pier in the summer.
A beautiful day at the beach.
A manatee was cruising by the pier in the first shot.
Someone had caught a small shark.
Out in the gulf, boats go by.
There was a manatee right in front of the fishing pier. He stayed in the same spot for a while before moving on. They usually swim past quickly the few times I’ve seen one here. As I leaned over to take a picture, he stuck his nose up for air.
Dolphins were swimming all around the pier.
The water was full of little jellyfish. I haven’t seen the water filled with jellyfish here before like this. They were floating far out at the end of the fishing pier so I don’t think they were bothering the people swimming close to shore.
Someone caught a fish.
The cormorants were diving under and getting fish. They seemed to be catching more that the fishermen on the pier.
It was a busy morning under the water around the fishing pier at Fort Desoto.
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.
Manatee snout coming up for air.
Stingray in the shallow water.
I think he was eating the dead fish parts that the fishermen had thrown over the pier.
Blowing his nose.
Do you think he needs a kleenex?
The water was clear enough that you could see what was floating on the bottom. I’m surprised the pelicans didn’t get this stuff when it got thrown over.
Lots of stingrays around the pier.
Pretty pelican floating around.
Taken with my phone camera, this guy swam right up to the pier.
Even more were swimming towards the pier.
Pano taken with my phone camera. This is the view from the pier.
It was a busy morning in early December at the Safety Harbor fishing pier. Lots of people out fishing and I counted 8 manatees floating around near the pier. I think that’s a record. The water was clear, the sun was out. Perfect day for a walk.
Up at the north beach lagoon, he was trying to get bait fish.
With no success in the lagoon, he went over to the gulf. I never did see him catch anything. I don’t know if his form is bad or not.
Sea oats into the sun.
Trying to nap before the tourists hit the beach.
A manatee was swimming by the fishing pier.
Skimmers were still grabbing the bait fish in the water.
Jim was walking around the snack shop to try to get a better angle on the storm coming in.
Clouds were moving in. At least the wind was cooling things off.
Storm across the water.
Up in the sky.
Looking back from the end of the fishing pier. The storm was coming in from the right.
The tide was low and the threat of rain kept the beach empty (well, almost empty).
My morning in late August started out sunny. The two days before were stormy so I thought I would have been rained out. I headed out anyway thinking I could work on my storm shots if it rained. The clouds started rolling in right before lunch. The beach cleared out after a few sprinkles hit. It only sprinkled for a few minutes at first so I continued to walk around. I could see the heavy rain heading right for the pier so I headed back to my car just before the bottom fell out. Not many birds out but also not a lot of people so it was just nice to be out for the morning.
Check out more sky pictures at
One of the African spoonbills in the aviary that you can walk through. He’s looking at me like “What are you doing down there?”
Funny duck trying to hide under a small bush.
Everyone’s favorite, the meerkats. The one on the right says “I’ll turn my head and you guys do what you gotta do.”
“Did you get all the bugs?” says the one on the left. “The things you do for love.” says the one on the right.
Baby marabou stork born this spring. He’s starting to look like his parents (which isn’t a good thing).
You can always see plenty of injured manatees at the manatee hospital at the zoo. Which is really sad. The pools are always full. They get injured manatees in faster than they can rehabilitate and release them. Most are from boat strikes but a few where still there from getting sick from cold stress in the winter. Those will probably be released soon. One had lost it’s flipper to a crab trap.
Turtles hanging out in one of the manatee pools. “No more parking on the stick.”
The masked lapwing is one of the coolest birds there. He lets people get pretty close.
A had two hours to kill on a Saturday morning before I had a family commitment so I ran over to Lowry Park Zoo to walk around for a while. I was hoping to find wild nesting spoonbills but they did not show up this year. I was still able to find a few things to take pictures of.
Linking to Saturday’s Critters