|I used the Sunday after my reunion to do some exploring. If I left early, I could loop south on the way home and hit a handfull of parks that I had not seen in a long time.|
One of these was Blue Springs State Park, near Deland.
It was a weekend day in the summer so the place was jam-packed and crazy ... well, crazy with people having a good time enjoying the spring and playing in the water.
I had to hang around for a gap in the foot traffic to catch the shot above with an empty trail.
I wasn't prepared to get in the water on this day, so I did my shooting from above the surface.
Florida has at least 4 "Blue Springs" that I can think of. It's a logical name for these beautiful aquifer access points.
At Blue Springs State Park, the park service seems to be doing a good job of managing large crowds while protecting the banks and vegetation.
It's harder to protect water quality in a spring as it can be affected by land use miles away from the actual spring site.
I have only been to this spring once or twice in my life, so I don't have the, "You should have seen that water 20 years ago" blues like I get when I go to Crystal River or Manatee Springs.
Ignorance is bliss in this case.
The spring had an impressive gar population.
Most passerby announced that these were "Alligator Gar", but they are a panhandle species mainly and not common on the peninsula.
It's kind of a rippley picture, but it looks like a "Longnose" to me.
This guy looks like an exotic PACU to me ... perhaps a red pacu.
Pacu are vegetarian pirannah shaped fish that are usually seen as tropical aquarium fish. They are a high value food fish in the Amazon basin and are being aquacultured in some areas.
I only saw this one.
Contrast that fact with the dozens of exotic blue tilapia using the spring and it makes me think that perhaps it is a single aquarium escapee.
Still, I only fish watched for a half hour, so my perception may not be reality.
That is often the case.