Some of the critters in the water at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park north of Tampa. I made my annual winter trip in mid-January, hoping to see manatees along the river but the weather had warmed up for a few day and the manatees had scattered around the area.
Yes, this guy was on the other side of the glass. You usually see them sleeping in the back with their eyes closed.
It seemed to be mating day that morning. Both pelicans and some wild vultures were getting frisky in the warm weather.
The calm water in the springs.
It’s not often you can get up close to a bald eagle. Especially a juvenile one (the all brown one in the last shot). These eagles are all missing a wing and now live at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. They are in an open enclosure and just love to pose.
Pelicans were just starting to nest.
A night heron in the first shot. He crept up pretty close to me. The wild great blue herons were working on nests in the top of the trees over the alligator exhibit.
A burrowing owl trying to sleep.
Other animals were all just chilling out the morning I was there in early January. Lots of fun animals at the park. Unfortunately most are injured but have a home here at the park.
Moorhens were all around the lake. Lots of juveniles from early spring.
Other interesting ducks including the pied grebe in the last picture.
Other critters at the lake. The otter was a surprise. I’ve never seen one there before.
The water tower next to the lake and a hawk hanging underneath it. Probably looking for a slow flying monk parakeet. The parakeets nest under the water tower.
Looking across the lake near downtown St. Petersburg. I hadn’t been in a while so I stopped for a quick walk. There were people in the lake in kayaks doing a cleanup. I know there are alligators in there so you wouldn’t want to be in there without a kayak and a paddle to hit one over the head with.
All of the above are missing a wing. They are permanent residents at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park.
A wild vulture stopped by for a handout.
Lots of other Florida wildlife there as well.
The flamingos were taking a bath or napping.
A few things from Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park in late December.
As I was walking down the trail I saw a head pop up in the creek.
All of a sudden 3 more heads pop up past me. They were heading the other way.
I turned around and headed that way also. I walked along the bank of the creek and every other minute a head would pop up. One of them looked right at me.
They started climbing up on the rocks in front of me.
They seemed curious as to who I was. I backed up to get this picture in and I did not want them to get too close.
I was taking pictures right into the sun so it was not ideal but they were so cute.
What a face!
They stayed on the rocks for a few minutes looking around and then all 4 of them slid back into the water and headed down the creek. The end of the creek was close by and they went into the tunnel under the street.
I was pretty excited to see them at Largo Nature Preserve. There’s not much there at this small park but I had heard several times that otters had been sighted there. I went totally not expecting to see them and there they were. Swimming right beside me on the trail in the first 30 minutes I was there. They came and went fast though. I’ll be back to see them again.
Otters are not quiet when they eat. We heard this guy munching on the fish before we saw him. We knew there were otters running around on the trail and kept our eyes open. We followed this guy down the trail for a while and saw him eat 3 different fish.
His mom never told him to chew with his mouth closed.
Taking a breather, he stopped for a few seconds and then took off again.
Yum, another one.
It was as if he was saying “See what you’re missing?”
There was a group of us following three otters along the trail. Two took off farther into the marsh and this one stayed right against the trail. He moved fast. He would dive into the water (which seemed shallow to us) and then several hundred feet down we’d see his head pop up with another fish. He sat up right in front of us to eat but the reeds along the edge of the trail made it a challenge to get a clear shot. It’s not often the otters are out in the open on a busy Saturday morning with so many people on the trails. I guess because the weather was perfect, sunny and cool, they were more playful. At one point there about 10 people standing on the trail talking and one of the otters zipped across the trail right in front of them. It was about 30 minutes of “who cares about the birds.” time.