Birder's Eye View

Friday, June 5, 2009

Homosassa Spring Afternoon

Yesterday afternoon, my Mom, sister, and I decided to stop in Homosassa Springs State Park on our way home from visiting relatives. Although typically an active tourist destination in the winter, we found the park to be mostly devoid of sightseers on this hot, muggy afteroon, much to our pleasure.

We hiked the trail coming in (part of the Great FL Birding Trail), but because of the time of day and the variable weather conditions passing through, I found little more than common Cardinals, Parulas and Titmice.

The main portion of the park is mostly a wildlife rehabilitation area. Fenced-in habitats house birds of prey, wildcats, key deer, aligators, black bears, foxes, otters, and a hippopotamus (for some reason.)

The kestrels were one of my favorites for the day. There was a kestrel chick sitting on top of its shelter, cocking its head this way and that, looking all too cute.

The park also had a small collection of owls -- a Barred Owl, pictured above, Great Horned Owl, Eastern Screech Owls, and a Barn Owl. Although I can't technically add these to my year list, it's always fun to get a close look at captive birds since it helps in identifying them out in the wild.

Woodstorks are common around here, but it's not every day you can get close enough to reach out and touch one (not that I would -- do you see the size of that beak??).

If only I could count captive birds! I still have yet to see a Whooping Crane in the wild, but I did get an interesting close-up of this one in the park.

Another bird I'm dying to see -- a Crested Caracara. This one was running around in a habitat with three other species of hawk.

As we left the wildlife area and walked along the actual Homosassa River, Wood Ducks snoozed in the hot afternoon and preened their feathers contentedly out over the water.

Enormous manatees floated only a few feet off the trail. The water was so clear, too, that you could see every little detail on these elephant-like creatures. As long as I've lived in FL, I never get tired of these guys.
Inside a little nature center, there was an interesting display of bird skulls. The Roseate Spoonbill is my favorite!

Another cool feature at Homosassa is their underwater observatory out in the river. Normally jam packed in the winter, there was absolutely no one there when we went. This ginormous manatee was swimming cirlces around it, doing lazy barrel rolls as it cruised about under the crystal-clear water.

All in all, I didn't technically get any new birds for the day, but I had a wonderful time. We basically got the whole park to ourselves, saw some pretty amazing animals, and had an all-around fantastic afternoon.

Until next time,

Happy birding!

6 Comments:

  • I've never been to Homosasa Springs..looks like I need to. We go to Blue Springs alot. We can access it from the boat. But no captive birds or underwater viewing.

    www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com

    By Blogger Carol, At June 5, 2009 at 6:24 PM  

  • Hello there! Homosassa Spring is lovely, I'll have to go back there one day WITHOUT my now non-existent girlscout troop... How are you?

    It's Mary for the record. I think I must be like one of those rather annoying diseases that just keeps coming back...

    Anyway, just thought I'd say hi!

    -Mary

    By Anonymous Mary, At June 10, 2009 at 2:17 PM  

  • Wow, Mary from Brooker Creek? Long time no see! I'm doing well. How are you?

    And no worries, you're definitely NOT an "annoying disease" -- It's great to hear from you!

    Hope you're doing well!

    -Andrea

    By Blogger Andrea, At June 12, 2009 at 1:54 PM  

  • Yep, from the Brooker Creek Preserve. I went to the preserve earlier this week and was hit by this sudden feeling of nostalgia. I hadn't been there for what seemed an eternity and a day! How's college?

    Life has been up and down, Dad lost his job and Mom had to get one. We are adjusting... But for the most part we are doing pretty good! :D

    -Mary

    By Anonymous Mary, At June 12, 2009 at 4:05 PM  

  • College is amazing. :) I'm sorry to hear about the whole job thing though. Hey, do you have an email address so I can write you? It would probably be a lot easier than leaving comments! =)

    By Blogger Andrea, At June 13, 2009 at 12:42 PM  

  • Yep, my e-mail is trisscar5131@yahoo.com

    By Anonymous Mary, At June 13, 2009 at 5:03 PM  

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