Monday, February 19, 2007

Manatee Springs On A Cold Day

Yesterday, while driving in to town for the cake ingredients, I detoured into Manatee Springs State Park. It was a cold, windy, gorgeous day and I was hoping the manatees might be enjoying the warm 72 F degree spring water, but alas, they were out foraging in the darker Suwannee.
So, no manatee shots ... for now.
The collage below is just a sample of some of the scenery in Manatee Springs. The boardwalk snakes out through a floodplain forest of cypress and gum to the banks of the Suwannee and the mouth of Manatee Springs run.
The trees along the river were full of vultures as usual and some little Yellow-Rumped Warblers (aka LGB's) were working the leaflitter. (Thank you Sophiemae and Thingfish, your recent posts saved me from looking up yet another warbler I don't know)
I even managed a couple of warbler shots that weren't blurry, dark, or ... well, you know what I mean if you shoot warblers.
The limpkin above is a favorite swamp bird of mine. Photographically speaking, his bill's a little soft, but I was standing on a bouncing floating dock on the Suwannee as I tried to photograph him.
Limpkins are wonderful birds who keep to themselves and eat apple snails. In case you don't have apple snails where you live, they are also wonderful in a snaily sort of way. They are enormous, a full grown apple snail shell will fill your palm. The apple snail is aquatic and we have a couple of birds, the limpkin and the snail kite, that are especially adapted for preying on the apple snail.
The cry of the limpkin at night will raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
Eerie.
I hope you hear it some day. Posted by Picasa

11 comments:

Kristen said...

Great photo. I hope I do get to hear it someday, perhaps on my next trip South.

SophieMae said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Mrs. FC! That cake looks great! I'm a sucker for poppy seed just about anything.

I'm so jealous of your limpkin! They've been spotted fairly frequently at one of my favourite lakes, but I never seem to be there at the right time. I have seen the tell-tale pink eggs on the trees, and found quite a few empty snail shells.

I need to get back over to Blue Springs. We used to spend a weekend there every December. It's been a while now. The manatees must be missing me. 8-]

vicki said...

I go to Chicago, brave the cold, talk to the polar bears- and I miss out on cake! And yellow rumped warblers! and limpkins! This apple snail is all new to me...learn something everyday over here. Don't let the missus get drug tested any time soon. ;-)

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Hot damn, another fine history/biology/eat-or-be-eaten story. I love it here.

threecollie said...

Love the water photos, very beautiful and the limpkin sounds like a wonderful bird! Thanks

Floridacracker said...

Kristen,
Thanks. I hope you get there.

Sophie,
Now, would that be the panhandle blue springs, the Levy blue springs, the Deland blue springs, or ...

Vicki,
Your polar bear friends would feel at home here today ... 29 F this morning.
Apple snail post in the future!

Hoss,
We aim to please.

ThreeCollie,
You have to see our Florida springs to believe water can be that clear and beautiful. Nothing on earth comes close to them.

Deb said...

I hope I hear it too some day. I've only seen limpkins in bird books.

Bernadette said...

With apologies to Gelett Burgess:
I never saw a sea cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.

With apologies to no one:
The drooping bill's the limpkin's thingie,
Who knows what makes the limpet clingy?
And, what makes poppy seeds so zingy?

Floridacracker said...

Deb,
And I'm hoping to hear a wolf.


Bernadette,
Poor antisirenia Burgess
how sad to be seacowless
I hope Bernadette will see
the beauty of the manatee

Bernadette said...

Dugong and Dugongidae!

SophieMae said...

I forgot how many Blue Springseses there are in FLarda. I was talking about the one near DeLand. We rented a cabin there every Dec, when the crowds were much thinner. We did the primitive cabin thing at Hontoon Island, as well. Duller and I took turns trekking to the community bathroom till we finally managed to get to sleep... it was COLD!