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jeffb

Florida manatees

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My wife and I were visiting our daughter in Florida this weekend, and she took us to Blue Spring State Park. The spring runs 72 degrees F year-round, and in cold weather a few hundred manatee gather at the spring to stay warm. Here are some pictures, taken with my new Pentax K-50. This is my first DSLR, and my first SLR, and my first time using it, so technique and composition are not great. Suggestions are welcome!

 

As we walked from the river towards the spring we saw 1 manatee:

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Then 3:

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Then many:

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The trees and tropical foliage are very striking:

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The water is spectacularly clear, so many fish are visible as well:

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This is the actual spring. The warm water comes out of the deep cracks in the limestone:

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And as we walked out, we saw a manatee on his back, rather like a lion after a big meal:

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All pictures were taken with a pentax K-50 with a kit 18-55 mm lens and a circular polarizing filter using Program mode.

 

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@@jeffb thanks for posting these beautiful and interesting photos of manatees. How smart that they have found a warm spring to wait out the cold weather!

 

I like the very green vegetation and surrounding scenery too.

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@@Treepol thank you very much! There are a number of springs in Florida that attract manatees. Some allow swimming and kayaking with the manatees, but I rather like the fact that water activities are banned at Blue Spring when the manatees are there. And, while I haven't been to any of the other springs, its hard to believe that they could be prettier than this one.

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@@jeffb is Blue Springs part of the Everglades system?

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Posted (edited)

@@Treepol no, Blue Spring flows into the St. Johns River which then flows north and empties into the Atlantic ocean in north Florida. The Everglades are a long ways south of Blue Springs, so there should be no connection hydrologic or otherwise.

Edited by jeffb

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A beautiful place! Love the pictures of the Manatees.

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Funny, I was just at Blue Springs for the first time as well, also to see the manatees of course. My family and I went to Orlando for a 3-day weekend primarily to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter but I managed to convince them to take a day to see the manatees, and we all greatly enjoyed it. I agree it is very scenic and I was pleasantly surprised how close you can get to the manatees and how well you can see them. I agree though I'm glad that they don't allow swimming while manatees were present. When we were there (Martin Luther King Day weekend in January) they had seen over 300 that day! We didn't see that many but we did see quite a few!

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~ @@jeffb

 

Love your series of manatee images!

A species which I've never seen, as my Florida experience is limited to a few hours driving through the Panhandle, many years ago.

That both you and @@SafariChick have recently Blue Spring State Park has brought the manatees to the fore.

I'm surprised to know how readily they might be observed and photographed. Your images bring out the beauty of the setting.

I've had a hankering to someday visit the Circle B Bar Reserve in Polk County, near Lakeland. Wildlife photos posted online have persuaded me that it may be one of the finest locations for photographing many North American species.

Thank you so much for posting these images.

Tom K.

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@@jeffb

Lovely pictures of a beautiful place. I didn't realise you could see so many manatees in one place. If that is your first outing with a DSLRthen you have a good future in photography - and I look forward to seeing more of your pictures.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you all very much for your kind comments!

@@michael-ibk thank you. The area around the spring is remarkably beautiful, especially for those of us coming from the north in winter.

@@SafariChick they had counted just under 300 that day, and I'm sure we saw over 100 but I wouldn't want to guess further than that. My daughter had been there before (she is a biologist with the state park system) but she had never seen them so dense. Glad you were able to get away from the amusement parks for a while! How was the wizarding world?

@@Tom Kellie thanks very much. Your positive comments encourage all of us. I'll have to look into the Circle B, as I have never heard of it.

@@TonyQ you are very generous. I hope to get back to Africa in a few years, as soon as the budget allows, and test my photography skills there.

Edited by jeffb
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@@Tom Kellie thanks very much. Your positive comments encourage all of us. I'll have to look into the Circle B, as I have never heard of it.

 

~ @@jeffb

 

In all candor I feel that the Circle B Bar Reserve in Florida's Polk County merits a place on every wildlife photographer visiting the Eastern United States.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g34373-d3348786-Reviews-Circle_B_Bar_Reserve-Lakeland_Florida.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle_B_Bar_Reserve

http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/areas/circlebbarreserve.html

I hope that these links will be of use to you and other Safaritalk members and visitors.

Tom K.

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@@jeffb - great idea for a thread. Blue Springs is a favourite of ours when we visit Florida and whilst we have not seen as many manatees as you did I have to say that it is definitely worth a visit for anyone in the area. We actually met family on holiday from the UK over there recently and persuaded my sister and her kids to visit there instead of another day in a theme park and I am happy to say that they all really enjoyed it and we added the 2 hr boat trip on the St. John's River. Very nice way to spend some time - manatees, fish, 'gators, ospreys and all types of critters and a very entertaining guide.

 

Floridastateparks.org is a great site for anyone planning a trip and for anyone interested there is a webcam at Blue Springs (I view it through savethemanatee.org). Just had it on and there were manatees there.

 

A couple of pics of my own...apologies for the surplus images of stuff other than manatees but your pics were way more interesting and I just wanted to show the area off as it is a beautiful and informative place.

 

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@@jeffb, beautiful images of a species I know little about, other than friends who once "swam" with them. I'm glad to hear that is not offered at this lovely location, they look so peaceful resting in the shallows. Something else to add to my list when I get back to your great country, thanks for posting.

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@@deano you know the park better than I do! Thanks for the additional information and photos. We are planning on doing the river boat trip another time.

@@elefromoz I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures.

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@@jeffb and @@deano thank you for sharing a little of my state, these are great images but I'll admit I haven't been to Blue Springs since I was a kid.

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Here is a video I took when I was there in January. You can see a baby in this video as well as adults.

 

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@@SafariChick I love the video! Thanks for posting it!

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