Wild Florida: Manatees and Alligators

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Crystal River

Florida Wild, Manatee, Mix Hart/18

I hope you enjoy a glimpse into Florida Wild that I captured (with my camera) on a Florida road trip that took me from Crystal River (on the Gulf of Mexico) to the southernmost tip of North America in Key West.

Florida Wild, Crystal River, Mix Hart/18

 I’ve been wanting to get this post out since last spring, but I confess, all my writing energy was absconded by a very demanding novel.

I finally have a little time to get out a few posts about some of my favourite wild spaces on Earth.

Florida Wild, Manatee, Mix Hart/18

I began my quest to discover Florida wildlife in Crystal River. I was lured to  Crystal River in hopes of spotting the wild manatees that frequent the warm, spring-fed river when the Gulf of Mexico’s winter temperatures are too cool for the aquatic mammals.

Florida Wild, Manatee, Mix Hart/18

Swimming alongside the gentle creatures was unbelievable. They are true mermaids. I went into this adventure believing that I would be snorkeling in a wide, open river and that I would not get too close to the creatures.

Crystal River, Florida, Hart/18

The reality was that the river is very narrow; I felt that our human presence was too invasive for these gentle creatures and that they would be better off left alone. Knowing what I know now, I think it best that snorkellers not be allowed in the river with the manatee. They are so very gentle and peaceful; we must respect their temperament by giving them privacy and space.

Florida Wild, Manatee, Mix Hart/18
Florida Wild, Manatee, Mix Hart/18
Florida Wild, Manatee, Mix Hart/18

The Everglades

Nearly all of wild Florida has completely vanished beneath urban sprawl; however, the Everglades hold the best of Florida’s wondrous wild.

You cannot pass by a water-filled ditch without spotting several alligators and splendiferous birds.

Florida Everglades, Mix Hart/18

Nature’s weaving…

Florida Everglades, Mix Hart/18

Below: two barred owls in a cypress tree.

Florida Everglades, Mix Hart/18

Below: lizard with geometric markings.

Florida Everglades, Mix Hart/18

Below: Alligators

Florida Everglades, Mix Hart/18

I admit, even though I’d attended a crocodile safety briefing in Queensland, Australia, I was careless when it came to photographing this large alligator. It continued to move in on me as I photographed it and yet I crouched and kept still to finish shooting. I had my eye on it but I should have stood up and walked away quickly. It’s never wise to tempt primitive hunters that possess fast legs.

Learning how to be the most respectful wildlife photographer is something I take very seriously and I am forever trying to improve on...
Florida Everglades, Mix Hart/18
Florida Everglades, Mix Hart/18

Florida Everglades, Mix Hart/18

Above & Below: a group of young alligators sunning themselves.

Florida Everglades, Mix Hart/18
Florida Everglades, Mix Hart/18

Above: an interesting spotted fish in an Everglade channel.

Sarasota

If you’re looking for seabirds, you’ll want to walk along the Gulf of Mexico in Sarasota, preferably in the early morning while the birds are out looking for breakfast.

Sarasota, Florida, Mix Hart/18

Blue Heron looking for its breakfast.

Sarasota, Florida, Mix Hart/18
Sarasota, Florida, Mix Hart/18

Above: When your shoes match your eyeshadow.

Sarasota, Florida, Mix Hart/18

Above: beautiful shorebirds with crimson legs and beak stripe.

Sarasota, Florida, Mix Hart/18

Above: seabird catching a pelican taxi.

Sarasota, Florida, Mix Hart/18

Above: Blue heron and pelicans.

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