After a really cold week, I headed over to the TECO (Tampa Electric Co) plant to see the manatees that hang out there in the winter. The warm water coming off the electric plant in the lagoon keeps the manatees warm during the coldest weeks. Years ago, the plant built a manatee viewing center with a big deck that wraps around part of the lagoon. All of those dots in the water are manatees. There were hundreds of them the morning I was there in late January.
The plant says that the smoke coming out of the stack is actually clean steam. It doesn’t feel smoky when you are there and the sky was clear blue.
Part of the deck overlooking the lagoon. This was still early in the day before the big crowds get here. I got here well before they opened at 10am and waiting in line to park and was out before lunch. They can get crazy crowded and parking is a challenge when the manatees are here in large numbers. The news channels report on them when there’s been a prolonged cold spell so everyone heads over including me.
Some of the birds around the plant. White pelicans were flying high, a young night heron flew by the deck and a vulture was sitting on a platform built for an osprey nest.
Down at the very end of the lagoon, it’s roped off so boaters or kayakers cannot follow the manatees into the area. There is no swimming with the manatees here.
There’s usually some stingrays splashing around.
I took a ton of manatee pictures so more to come on those.
Eagle sightings along the trail at Circle B Bar Reserve.
Out in the marsh, a lone sandhill crane was among the wood storks. At first he was feeding but then he stopped and started calling across the marsh.
He then took off, flying right in front of me.
Along the trail.
Taken with my 300mm lens, this big guy was napping out in the water.
True to its name, the Osprey Trail on Honeymoon Island is known for having a lot of Osprey along the trail. There are many nests along the trail and when I was there in late January, the osprey were working on refreshing the old ones.
Both eagles were sitting in a tree near the nest which was a bad sign. They were sitting on eggs earlier so something must have happened to cause them to abandon the nest. They might try again. It was still early.
Towhees, catbirds and yellow rumped warblers were all along the trail.
Lots of vultures here.
New growth in some of the prescribed burn areas.
This guy walked right in front of me on the trail.
I hadn’t been to Honeymoon Island since last spring. I wanted to see if the osprey were nesting yet. Honeymoon Island is a barrier island north of Clearwater Beach. In the 1940’s the island was a place known for people to spend their honeymoon in the cottages on the island. Once World War 2 started people stopped coming to the island and later the cottages were torn down.
Linking to Wednesday Around the World
Always a lot of vultures on the trails here.
Tons of hawks too.
Many green herons.
Soon there will be more moorhens.
The usual glossy ibis, wood stork with a stick, a snowy egret and a juvenile night heron all hanging out in the marsh.
The sky is always full of osprey.
At Circle B Bar Reserve.
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.
She has pretty eyes.
You can almost always find a sandhill crane in a cow pasture.
Interesting black and white cow.
Red shoulder hawks were everywhere.
A typical sight on the dirt road. silhouette of a vulture.
Hubby and I were headed to West Palm beach to visit his aunt that recently turned 95. We left fairly early and headed out across central Florida. I wanted to drive down a dirt road to look for a caracara. A bird that has alluded me. I had heard that they hang out on Peavine Road. A long dirt road that runs from Highway 60 up towards Orlando. Unfortunately we hit rain. It rained most of the way across. I was thinking we should just head straight for West Palm. We got to the dirt road and the rain had stopped so we decided to drive down a little ways. It drizzled on and off so we only went half way down the road before turning around to head on our way. The road was filled with vultures, kingfishers, great blue herons and cows. Cows went on for miles. There was no sight of a caracara that day but on the way back home we went a different way and I got lucky. More on that tomorrow.
Tricolored heron posing along the lake.
Northern parula hiding in the trees. They were hard to see but I heard them singing all over the park. I’ve seen very few of them this year.
Cool caterpillar on the boardwalk.
Great blue heron behind some old cypress tree stumps along the lake.
Another one walking in the mud.
Vultures flying overhead.
Things were quiet at Lettuce Lake Park in north Tampa. I hadn’t been there in a long time but had heard there were baby turkeys there. No sign of the turkeys but I did find a baby barred owl. More on him later.