|Peaceful boat ride to the main part of the park.|
|One of the three manatees who call the spring enclosure home.|
|Lots of fish, like these snook and mullet, find the conditions around the spring just perfect.|
|You can get a great fish-eye view of the schools from the bubble--sort of a reverse aquarium; you're in the tank while the fish swim free.|
After getting a gander at the "tame" manatees, we strolled over to the river and got a lucky glimpse of a wild one. Like many of these huge beasts, this one had a couple of wounds on its back from boat propellers. Perhaps that is why it wasn't heading north to Georgia or the Carolinas with its relatives.
|Feral manatee in the Homosassa River.|
Previous to becoming a state park and focusing on local/regional wildlife, Homosassa was an exotic animal park. All the previous tenants were sold off or donated to various zoos--except one. No one wanted a rather aging hippo so he has remained and is now fifty some years old. They celebrate is "birth" day every year and he's got quite a following.
|The lone hold over from the "exotic animal park" days.|
|Seven of these beasts, ranging in size from around 8 to 10 feet long inhabit their special pool.|
The animals were neat to view, but the birds! Goodness! Did they have birds. Some were free to come and go as they pleased, others were enclosed in a huge aviary (think of it as a walk-in bird cage) and still more were unable to leave due to injury. (The latter group was primarily birds of prey--hawks and eagles--and owls.)
|Flamingos doing flamingo things. (No, they aren't plastic.) (Free ranging.)|
|White pelican. (Free ranging)|
|Brown Pelican. (Free ranging.)|
|Snowy Egret. (Capitve.)|
|Black-crowned Night Heron. (Capitve.)|
|Common Gallinule. (Capitve.)|
|Osprey and American Bittern. (Capitve.)|
|Roseate Spoonbill. House building? (Capitve.)|
|Black Vulture. (Free ranging.)|
|Immature Anhinga living dangerously in the gator pool. (Free ranging.)|
Eventually we had to leave which meant taking the boat back to the parking area.
|Boat ride back to the parking area. Nice way to end the visit.|
Time to head north (where they were having rainy/snowy weather!?). On to Savanah, GA.
See Part 4 for our tour of the city.