Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Life at Homosassa Springs (Homosassa Springs, FL)

Life here is pretty laid back.  We're primarily here because we got a deal on the campsite, but there are some nice locations in the area to enjoy.  We're also here to visit with Pop and Marge who are about 90 minutes away.  The Sunday after we arrived we went to the Homosassa Seafood Festival in the old historic community of Homosassa.  Primarily it was crafts, vendors and food.  We stayed several hours and had a nice time.  We have cruised the area looking at some real estate, simply because they're giving houses away in this area.  We're not buying but it's fun to look.  There are lots of wildlife refuges in the area but many of them are only accessible by water.  However, there are some nice scenic areas adjacent to these refuges that can be viewed by land.

Scene from Crystal River Wildlife Refuge

It really wasn't that windy!

A storm was brewing though!

The Withlacooche State Forest covers thousands of acres in this general area.  There are several tracts, both large and small, that provide great hiking or dog walking.  Debbie and I have visited several of these tracts.  I did eight and a half miles solo the other day in less than 3 hours.  The terrain is almost entirely flat so one can cover the distance quite quickly. 

Less than five minutes up the road is the premier Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park  (HSWSP).

The primary focus of the park is protection of Manatees.  They are SUCH CUTE, HARMLESS creatures!  There are several manatees there in captivity, some that are to be released and others that are too imprinted to return to open water. 

This entire area is home to hundreds of manatees due to the warm spring water that feeds the local rivers.  Consequently, manatee protection and awareness is the salient theme here. 

The park also has a great bird habitat.

We're trying to learn to identify common Florida birds.  Our best guess on this one ... Anhinga?

Whatever he/she is ...lunch is being enjoyed!

Pretty confident this is a Great Blue Heron

White Ibis for sure

Snowy Egret?

Can't mistake the Roseate Spoonbill

Color and Bill give it away

Although it's horns aren't "up" we're pretty sure this is a Great Horned Owl 

We can tell this is a Wood Stork by the bald, black head

Loved seeing the Bald Eagles

We also saw alligators

A hippo

and a  fox.

Additional there's a brief boat ride you can take to enter the park.  The atmosphere of the park is very calm.  It's easy to just mosey, take your time and learn about Florida wildlife.  Debbie and I have already been there twice.  After our initial visit we decided to purchase an annual pass to the Florida State Parks.  We figure we'll justify the expense during the 6 months we're here in Florida.  We returned to HSWSP with Pop and Marge.

Pop and Marge at Wildlife Park
At $10 a head we've already recovered nearly half the cost of the annual pass.

The weather has been beautiful!

Eat an orange!


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