Monday, May 5, 2014

Florida - May 6, 2014

At Citrus Hills, we checked out the facilities, ate meals at some of the restaurants, and toured the models.  It seems like a wonderful place to live and the area did make it to our short list. 

But, if you wanted to hear more about that you wouldn't be reading this blog.  So, back to the nature.

Once we knew that our plans included the Crystal River area I did research on where to view wild Manatees.  I learned that May is not a great time of year since they tend to be in the area in winter time.  But, upon arrival in Crystal River we learned that some Manatees now stay year round and one of the good folks at Citrus Hills gave us a lead on where to find them.

Kings Bay Park is a small park but they have a boat/kayak rental place and a launch for both.  They also have wild West Indian Manatees and we were lucky enough to be able to see some from the shore.

West Indian Manatees

West Indian Manatees

West Indian Manatee

The area has many boat trips and is apparently one of the only places in the world where you can swim with the Manatees but we passed on that experience. It was nice enough to see them from the shore.  We found lots of other wildlife as well when we were able to venture out and explore the area during the rest of our stay. 

Eastern Cottontail:
Eastern Cottontail

When we saw this snake, we thought it was a Cottonmouth which would have been very cool, but upon close inspection of the photos we determined that this was the Florida Water Snake.  A new snake is still cool, but a Cottonmouth would have been cooler...
Florida Water Snake

Five-lined Skink:
Five-lined Skink

Black-bellied Plover:
Black-bellied Plover

Green Anole:
Green Anole Displaying

Yellow-crowned Night Heron:
Yellow-crowned Night Heron

And our last snake of the trip, the Yellow Rat Snake:
Yellow Rat Snake;

All in all, it was a great trip to Floria.  The weather was fantastic.  The temps were in the 80s and 90s with low humidity.  Much different than my experience in southern Florida.  This is a great part of the country and we will undoubtedly be back someday.

New Mammals:
Eastern Gray Squirrel
Eastern Cottontail
West Indian Manatee
Atlantic bottle-nose dolphin

New Birds:
Wood Stork
Yellow-crowned Night Heron
Least Tern
Common Night Hawk
Black-bellied Plover
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Boat-tailed Grackle
Carolina Chickadee
Common Yellowthroat
Laughing Gull
Black Skimmer
Ruddy Turnstone
Royal Tern
Semipalmated Plover
Carolina Wren
Pileated Woodpecker

New Herps:
Broadhead Skink
Five-lined Skink
Pygmy Rattlesnake
Six-lined Racerunner
Florida Water Snake
Green Anole
Brown Anole
Black Rat Snake
Yellow Rat Snake

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