Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

From Hawks to Vultures-moving day

As you can see below, I was out before the sun on an early morning paddle from the campsite to the springs and back.

There was less mist than the day before.  I guess because it was warmer.  54 degrees today as opposed to 48 yesterday.

I was going west but I turned around a few times to try to catch the sunrise.  Here's one of those times.

Lots of wood ducks on the water in the very early morning.  Sorry these are so small.  They are beautiful.

an Anhinga looking almost furry.

On my way back down the river, I spent quite a bit of time under the tree in which this red shouldered hawk was perched.  I was amazingly close although this photo sure doesn't show it.  Hope you can see him there on the limb in the middle.  Click on the picture to see him better.

and finally, I was almost back to the campsite dock when I spent some time with this little blue heron until he tired of me watching and flew up river where he knew I was too tired to paddle.

When I got back, I had a quick breakfast and an hour later we were on the road toward Chiefland, Florida and Manatee Springs State Park where we'll stay for 5 nights.  An easy short drive, just the kind I like.  Here is our campsite #29.  The park has 100 sites and later, as we walked around, we could see there were only about a dozen people here on a Tuesday.

It's a very nice wooded site.  A great new backyard.

When he was setting the table for dinner, David took out 3 placemats and jokingly asked who I would like to invite.  We named several people including, of course, all of our blog readers.  Notice the 3rd placemat if you can see it off to his left.

And here's who tried to invite themselves to dinner.  There were actually 4 of them and they practically came up to look over our shoulders and make sure our plates were empty.  I have a sneaking feeling some campers have been breaking the rules about feeding wildlife.

Here's a close up of our would be guest.

After determining that they weren't going to be asked to stay, the 4 wandered off in search of easier prey.

And then, just as we started out for a walk to the springs, someone else showed up. But s/he wasn't paying any attention to us at all.

closer shot of the second visitor.  Looks like he has a hole in his shoulder.  What could pierce that armor?

Finally after bidding our second visitor adieu we took the hike over to the Manatee Springs themselves.
The headwaters of this spring have been closed off for swimming only.  This spring and small river (.5 mile) are apparently filled with manatee from November to April.  But there were none here tonight when we visited.

Looking downstream toward where this spring run joins the Suwannee River

Between the picture above and this boardwalk to a Suwannee River overlook is the kayak/canoe put in.  You can't kayak the spring as you can in the other first magnitude springs we've been to, but you can put in just barely below it and kayak the run to the river which I hope to do early tomorrow morning.

The boardwalk ends in a little covered viewing area where you can see the run join the river as well as look up and down the famous Suwannee.

First thing we noticed when we got there about 30 minutes before sunset was this tree filled with roosting Egrets.   And then the one next to it to the right in this picture was filled with.........

Here they are.  More vultures than you would ever want to have in one tree it seems to me.  But David was fascinated and so more on them tomorrow......maybe :-)

Here are some sunset pictures from our first day at Manatee Springs State Park.  Mother Nature does a lovely job doesn't she?

What a wonderful life!!!

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