The electric company

IMG_4538 DSC_8711 DSC_8719 DSC_8734

Why would anyone go hang out next to a power plant? Because they use the water in the bay to cool the towers.  The warm water comes out in the channel and keeps the manatees warm during the winter. Hundreds of manatees spend their winters in this channel.  The power plant built a dock for people to stand on and watch the manatees come up for air.

DSC_8709

One of the manatees near the dock.

DSC_8725

DSC_8727

For extra enjoyment, they hire sharks to jump out of the water and entertain us. (Just kidding, this was the first time we had seen this here before).

DSC_8742

DSC_8743

Little fiddler crabs and willets hang out on the shoreline under the dock.

DSC_8745

Overhead, an osprey was gathering sticks for a nest.

DSC_8740

Little fishies.

We made our annual winter trip to the Tampa Electric Plant to see the manatees in late February. Even thought it’s been a warm winter, the water in the bay has been cold enough for the manatees to congregate in the warmer waters next to the plant. There were tons of manatees in the water but I think this time there were more people than manatees.

SkyWatch Friday

Critters under water

DSC_6898

At 8:30 am, the river just outside of the park was getting full with people swimming with the manatees. There are sections of the river that are off-limits so the manatees can get away from the tourists if they want to be left alone. They are curious and friendly and usually don’t shy away from people as long as they don’t get overcrowded.

DSC_6916

DSC_6919

All of those spots in the water are manatees huddled together for warmth. This is one of the warmest parts of the springs so they spend the winter here.

DSC_6923

DSC_7358

A few of them coming up for air.

DSC_6929

DSC_7312

There are lots of resident alligators at the wildlife park. They are fenced in so they can’t eat the tourists.

DSC_6959

The river otters are very curious. They will come up to the rail and sniff you and then slid into the water and do tricks, rolling over and popping up in the middle of the pond as if to say “Watch me do this one!”

DSC_7296

DSC_7301

A few of the beautiful flamingos at the park.

The Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park has so many different critters. The wild manatees come into the springs to stay warm but the park also has many permanent residents, many of them injured. If wild manatees are sick and get stranded somewhere else, they can end up here at the manatee hospital to recoup in the warm water.

Another “Funny Faces at the Zoo” post

DSC_6013

I always see red bellied woodpeckers up in the trees at the zoo.

DSC_5908

Everyone loves the little meerkat “clowns”.

DSC_5910

The marabou stork is back on the nest.  Last spring she had 2 babies. She doesn’t look too happy about having to sit there for weeks.

DSC_5958

The front of an Okapi.

DSC_5957

The back of an Okapi.

DSC_5967

“There’s a piece straw hanging in front of my eye. Maybe I can reach it with my tongue” says the giraffe.

DSC_5979

A hooded merganser snoozing over the manatee pool.

DSC_5987

DSC_5988

Injured manatees recouping at the zoo manatee hospital.

DSC_6003

DSC_6006

He seemed so serious in the first picture so I asked him to smile.

A few funny things at Lowry Park zoo.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

A roadtrip to see floating cows – Skywatch Friday

DSC_0015

Statue of a manatee at the entrance to the Manatee Viewing Center.

DSC_9965

Manatees kissing?

DSC_9961

A night heron cruising around the manatee area.

DSC_9992

Coming up for air. What a nose!

DSC_9993

This one was floating on his back.

DSC_0002

He started floating towards the boardwalk. I was hoping he would float under us.

DSC_0003

Just as he got to the boardwalk he turned over.

DSC_9977

Tricolored heron flying by.

DSC_9980

Warm water coming out of the electric plant.

IMG_2635

The viewing center is across from the TECO (Tampa Electric Co) plant. It was not a nice day. Cloudy and muggy but it was still fun being out and seeing all of the manatees congregate around the warm water coming from the electric plant. I should have taken pictures of all of the people. This was the day after Christmas and the boardwalk was wall to wall people.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday

In the warm water at Homosassa Springs Park.

DSC_3576

This is one of the main “swim with the manatees” areas. We were standing on the dock at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park watching all of the people floating around. It got very crowded as the morning went on. There are “manatee monitors” that make sure people don’t bother or chase after the manatees. If they swim up on their own, you can pet them.

DSC_3583

Manatees were sleeping right along the bridge.

DSC_3588

A young one coming up for air, looking right at us.

DSC_3605

The lone hippo at the park.

DSC_3620

The river otters were so much fun to watch swimming around.

DSC_3639

Looks like he thinks those lost sunglasses are a toy.

DSC_3773

Checking us out.

manatees

There’s an underwater viewing area at the park. They are very curious.  Pam and I were the only ones there that early in the morning and they all swam over to check us out. The above and below were taken with my iphone up against the dirty glass.

face

“Gimmi a kiss lady!”

It turned out to be a fun morning, even though it was foggy when we first got to Homosassa Spring Wildlife Park. The sun didn’t really come out until right before we left, close to lunch time. The water around the park was full of manatees. When the water around the Tampa Bay area gets cold, the manatees on the gulf side head to the springs since the water there stays warmer in the winter. It looked like there were hundreds of them there. The otters were crazy active while we were there, barely stopping for a minute. I might have to road trip up there again this spring before the summer heat sets in.

Linking up to Saturday’s Critters.

Fun things at the zoo

DSC_0718

A pretty blue damselfly.

DSC_0713

Grasshoppers are invading the zoo for the summer.

DSC_0714

The mandrills have interesting faces.

DSC_0710

Playing with the branches.

DSC_0721

The baby red tail guenon found a piece of plastic floating in the pool. I’m sure the wind blew it in from the neighborhood nearby. It was really windy this morning.

DSC_0722

Of course, like any baby, he puts it in his mouth. Once he realized it wasn’t yummy, he dropped and continue to look for more things to put in his mouth.

DSC_0703

There are still a lot of manatees at the manatee hospital, recovering from red tide.

Just a few things I saw on my walk around the zoo looking for baby birds.

Camera Critters

Continue reading

A weekend in the backyard – Skywatch Friday

DSC_6395

Little blue heron creeping along the fence.

DSC_6398

An immature blue heron still in his white first year feathers. He’s just starting to get some blue tint around his face. He was walking around the dock.

DSC_6654

Two white ibis land on my boat lift.

DSC_6655

Off he goes. I think he saw me in the window.

DSC_6657

My neighbor’s bottle brush tree in full bloom.

DSC_5468

Back in early March, we had two manatees sleeping right in front of our dock. They stayed there most of the afternoon. I walked out on the dock and snapped these. They had their backs to our house most of the time so I couldn’t get any front of the face shots.

DSC_5446

 I went back out at sunset and they were still there.

DSC_6344

We had a few clouds when I first went out. View from the backyard.

DSC_6380

A little later, the clouds went by and it was a full sun. The sun goes right down the middle of the channel behind our house for about two weeks in March and October. In the winter it goes down behind the trees on the far left and in the summer behind the trees on the right. It’s really bright in the house for those two weeks.

DSC_2224

After going back in the house, I looked out the window one last time and noticed an anhinga sleeping in my neighbor’s tree.

A few things in the backyard during March. There hasn’t been too much since. We regularly get doves but since we cut down our fruit trees, we don’t get much else anymore. The manatees were a nice treat and we should see them more now that summer is here.  It would be nice if they would turn around and smile for me though.

Check out more sky pictures at Skywatch Friday