Sunday, March 7, 2010

Where the wild things are...


This owl is the tamest thing you'll see in this post. It's one of two fabric paper ones I made this weekend. And it's the owner of the pair of eyes seen in a previous post.

Manatee are wild things I enjoy seeing, and the cold winter weather brings them into warmer waters of the Florida springs. In fact, the cold stresses them and the springs stay at a constant temperature winter and summer. Manatee like that. So one cold Sunday we went to Manatee Springs State Park in Chiefland to see if the mammals were there. Yup... there were seven or eight of them lazing in the springs. But the water was high, and tea-colored from the tannins. Because manatee stay submerged, and come up to breathe only occasionally, they were not easily seen. It didn't stop me from trying to get a picture. Can you see anything? They're in there. The large male was outfitted with a tracking device. Since they did not show up well, I took this photo of the manatee model. It shows the characteristic gray color, snout, flippers, and paddle-tail.


Other Florida wild things are the alligators that reside in Paynes Prairie near Gainesville. Relax, this one isn't live...it's a taxidermy model displayed by Friends of Paynes Prairie on the LaChua Trail. The Trail takes you along bodies of water where large alligators sun themselves, like these, below, seen on the banks. Now these are real! The largest must be at least 15' long. They are prehistoric-looking, scary, and fascinating all at the same time. And they are plentiful. Caution signs offer helpful tips, like don't walk between a gator and the water, else the gator feel threatened and attack. I didn't plan to get close enough to one to make a decision as to which end to walk around. But it could happen if you came upon one on the path.

Feed? Approach? Don't worry, I wasn't going to!











And, look! Another pair of eyes. Stop back in a few days to meet the owner.

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