Salt Springs Run Manatees

We have spent many nights in Salt Springs and never knew Manatees were frequent visitors here. There is a boat launch, ramps and gift shop. If you look close you can see tow of the Manatees (grey spots in the water).


You can see it’s back raising out of the water.


This looked like the smallest one…maybe 5 or 6 ft long. You can see several prop scars on it already.


In this photo you can see the same one, on the right,  with another much larger one.


Here are 3 of them together.


This Manatee swam right past our dingy. The white on the R is the back of our boat. You can see how close they came.


At first glance, this looks like the same Manatee in the photo above, but it’s not. Look at the different prop scars on this one. You can even see several on the tail. They are big and slow moving, and it’s hard to get out of the way if there are several boats and shallow waters. Yet they still seem to find us interesting.

Our dingy is 8’ long and this Manatee was much longer than that.


There is a Manatee under all the sparkles the wind and sunshine created.


Manatees come into Salt River Run Springs and Blue Springs because the water is warmer than the river during the winter. Blue Springs can have 90 or more at one time, and can be visited by car or by boat.

Salt River Run Springs has 15 that are regulars.

If you have a shallow draft boat you will have no trouble getting into Salt River Run. Be careful during the winter as that’s when you will be most apt to encounter Manatees on the Run.

We draw 3’ and can only get over the bar at the entrance when the water level in Lake George is up.

Gators on this trip

We spotted these two on Blue Creek, just off the St Johns River, FL. I found it intriguing since the small gator is resting his head on  a large turtle. Someday it will be on the gator’s menu…


The turtle didn’t like us getting so close and  decided to leave.



A few days later we spotted this one on the river bank. It was fairly large. I would guess at least 9 or 10 ft.


But the biggest treat was to spot this huge gator at one of our favorite anchorages.


It has a very broad back,  a very large head and a lot of “gator tail”.  One of the specialties on the menus around here. So I’m not going to mention where we spotted it.


Just as I switched from photos to video it headed into the water and I missed the action.

Is it grinning at me?

Immature Black-Crowned Night Heron?

I spotted this bird while taking Raisin ashore. It was sitting on another dingy. It didn’t seem worried as I motored past, but when I came back it had moved to the other side of the run at Silver Glen Springs, FL.


In my “Field Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies”, I found 2 birds that might fit.

I believe it is the Immature Black-Crowned Night Heron.059cs

My guide doesn’t have a photo..just a drawing, and both immature Yellow-Crowned and Black-Crowned Herons look similar, the beak on this bird most closely resembles the beak on the Black-Crowned Heron. 075cs

I had a great time watching it. For a moment I thought it was going to dive in and grab something.

I will be watching at dusk to see if I can spot an adult. They look like beautiful birds…ones that I have never seen.

Nature’s Clean-up crew

While cruising back to Lake Monroe, FL, I spotted a flock of vultures. It isn’t unusual to see them sitting in a tree, but when they are on the ground it usually means they are feeding on something.


At first glance it appeared they were sitting on a log, but it did seem unusual so we turned around for a better look.


We were right to double check…it is definitely a gator. August 15 thru Nov 1 is hunting season.

It’s possible it died of natural causes but with the season open……..not likely.

I know they are dangerous…and the big ones especially so…but I sure hate to see all the big old gators killed off. Many of the problems are caused by people who feed them and they start associating people with food instead of being wary of them. During breeding season it’s best not to hang around their territory. Many people hunt them for the meat, hides and the extra money to keep the family going. I have no problem with that. I’ve done it myself in the past.(though not with gators).  Not a fan of “trophy” hunters, though.