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2409manateeheron-a1manatee2409-1dsc02169 Adam and I went over to Blue Springs Park in Deland to see the manatees. When it gets cold, they come to the springs in the park where the water temp. doesn’t fluctuate, but stays around 72.  And boy was it cold, the wind was really whipping around. I think it was about 50 degrees and in the shade it felt much cooler. The water was driven by the wind and because of it, it was hard to take good photos of the manatees. The look like gray patterned rocks in the water. One of the park ranges told us they had counted 170 manatees today. We could see them all along the banks in twos and threes and fives. The gars too were out in large numbers, they were huge. people swim in these springs and I can’t imagine even wanting to swim anywhere near those gars! dsc02090 And WOW the carp! They also were so big and there were lots and lots of them all close to the bottom. Oh if I had a fishing rod! But they have no fishing signs because of the manatees.
The Park is a wonderful place! they have wonderful walkways with lots of viewing areas to see manatees all along the way the long walkway. There was one area, a cove they called the manatee spa, but none were in there. The birds and anhingas especially were abundant. Only saw one heron. I told Adam we must come back again on a day when the wind is calm. The water, spring fed, was so crystal clear, but again, the wind blew so hard it was always moving fast, I can’t wait for a day when I can see the water without ripples and take pictures! What a beautiful park it is and very family friendly, plenty of convenient restrooms and a large playground besides places to launch your boats. They also have a riverboat cruise, though I didn’t look for details.  Being there and looking at that gorgeous crystla clear water made me want to buy a kayak and if I didn’t have remodeling to do, (both of my outdated bathrooms are going to get resurfaced) then I would do just that, but priorities first. though I keep looking in the paper for someone needing to sell their boats.  Maybe some of my artwork will sell… wishful thinking, but maybe one day I will be able to take a photo and tell you I bought some type of water worthy vessel.
This place is off I-4 in Deland, very close to the Gateway Center For the Arts, so I took Adam by the Center on the way home to see how it looked.  When we got in the car, we blasted the heat. We were both so cold. As I write this now, it is much worse tonight as the temperature will be in the 20’s. I didn’t cover anything, what the heck, let it go, something will grow to replace it. All the cats are inside and settled down for the night. I was out earlier giving “Carbs” the duck some seed. I hope he finds someplace to stay warm. The cranes were here and the heron was down by the lake waiting for me, but I was a no show! This is way too cold for me and especially when the sun is going down. I can’t imagine the fishing even being any good, I’m sure the big fish are all at the bottom and not really going anywhere. As for Adam and Mom, we basted in high heat all the way to a sushi restuarant for lunch where I let someone else catch the fish of the day…

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My beautiful heron has been coming to fish with me for 2 years. I think it is a female after wondering if it was one of the offspring. It could be the wife of the large male. I say that because tonight while fishing, it wisked down about twenty feet from me and watched as I fished. Her head turning toward me as soon as the line held a splashing noise. The heron is highly alert to the sound of a fish in peril. But so is Ringo, he loves raw fish if he can get to them first, plus he will watch for an opportunity to stalk that heron even though the heron is so much taller. The heron either stands in the shallow water or waits in a tree branch overseeing the fishing operation, he is very aware of Ringo. If I catch a fish, I usually have Ringo who will try and get it and the heron who will swoop down to have it – it’s a competitive race and juggling act.
If Ringo sees the heron on dry land, he will not hesitate to chase it away. He won’t do that to the cranes because they stand their ground and won’t hesitate to come right after a cat! The sandhills are dominant. Even the heron knows that!
Tonight as Ringo, the heron and I fished, I caught a small bream and the bigger heron who must have been observing, flew the smaller heron off to try and take the catch. So it’s back to the heron wars and I love it.
The fishing is fun, I can’t explain what it feels like to get a tug on the line, but there is an excitement that sparks a reaction from that tug.  I either throw the fish back, or feed one or two to the herons, I figure it culls the overpopulation of bream.
It is exciting watching all these species interact. There is always something going on down by the lake, that’s why I try and fish almost every night. I find I am taking a huge camera bag down by the lake with my old Kodak and new Sony. The new camera does make a difference, but I am afraid I am going to treat it roughly like my cheaper camera as I love having it ready, lens cap off and sitting in the bag as I fish, which is not professional, but I am only an amateur so I guess that rationalizes that. Oh well, I bought the four year full replacement policy, what’s the worse that can happen, it breaks and they have to replace it?
The last photo is Ringo looking all innocent and sound asleep last night. It has gotten cold here at night,
(low 60’s and for us Floridians, it equates to freezing), Ringo comes in now either after we fish around dark,
(that’s about 6pm these days) or he’ll show up around 10pm to do some serious cutting of ZZZZ’s. Right now, he is passed out on the electric blanket, (yes Northerners, this whimpy Floridian sleeps under electric blanket even with the house temp at 72degrees. Once a Floridian, you always need to feel the heat of the sun even if it is fake and you are sleeping.)
Well, it’s 3:05am, time to go ‘electrifry’ and feel those alpha wave jolts for a few hours. In this economy, dreaming is the only luxury they can’t take away…

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