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Henry David Thoreau

Who else is out and about at Blue Spring

Wednesday March 6, 2013
Site 20, Blue Spring State Park
Orange City, Florida


Seems nobody had a much of an idea why we do the time change
but thanks for your comments and opinions on my semi-annual rant. 
It appears I didn’t make clear that I don’t care which one we use. 
Let’s just not change it.  If folks like more light at night
and getting up in the dark then let’s have DST all year round.
I know I’m beating my head against a brick wall. 
I’m just tired for a week trying to readjust.
Sounds like some others are too.



In spite of the later sunrise, my routine at Blue Spring has become to go out just after dawn, and check on the manatee. 

There isn’t a sunrise viewing spot here so I’ve switched from the sun at sunrise to the manatee at dawn.  I don’t think they care whether it’s light or dark. They are just going in and out from the spring run to their grasses in the river and lagoon. 

In the morning, many are resting but if I walk the entire boardwalk, by the end they are up and doing their playing and hugging and deep breathing.  While I’m walking along I also see other members of the Blue Spring community.  They all seem to get along just fine, including the gators.

Manatee are too big for gators to consider as food.  Manatee aren’t bird eaters, they are sea cows so the birds have no worries.  Manatee eat grass and a few other things, but a totally vegetarian diet.  Just shows how much you can weigh on a purely vegan diet. adults 1600 to 3000 lbs  :-)   Although, you’d have to eat 10% of your body weight a day as they do.


This gator is resting on the bank and the manatee are resting in the water near him.  Everybody's happy.Thursday bike ride 008







Do you know what a peduncle is?

As I near the mouth of the spring run I see the alligator swimming out into the St. John’s River right next to a manatee.  This is the manatee with the tracking device on its peduncle (how’s that for a fancy word  – thanks Paula).  A peduncle is the base of the tail right where it connects to the body.  Tracker is in front and above the gater.  There are two more manatee beyond him also swimming along.



peduncle – it’s fun to say.  Try it.Tuesday at Blue Spring 027C



At the boat dock, I see quite a variety of residents and visitors.


These tilapia  are not native to this area but have found it a great place to increase their numbers substantially.  Apparently they have dug these holes for spawning. They look like they have on lipstick.  And in the waters closer to the spring, they look blue.






Spring open for swimming 112


The cormorants are lined up at their post at the ‘no boats may enter’ barrier just beyond the fish holes.  Why are they lined up?  Who knows. 
Looks like the folks in the canoe have spotted the manatee.







Out on the river, every morning there are several sculling boats.   I wonder - is there a crew team at nearby Stetson University in Deland?


Spring open for swimming 055



On the opposite side of the boat dock from the tilapia holes is this interesting stump which turns out to be a sunning baby alligator.

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Thursday bike ride 029A


Across the river from the tilapia holes at the corner of the river and the end of the spring run, high up in the tree I see one of what I’m later told is a pair of bald eagles nesting there.


AM walk Blue Springs 053


AM walk Blue Springs 051A 



As I walk back up the spring run the turtles are out sunning and the great blue heron is on duty fishing. 

Possibly because fishing in the run is prohibited, there are a LOT of fish – gar, tilapia, mullet and others.  Judging from the numbers it seems the fish know about this no fishing.  And so do the birds.  In fact, there are a number of osprey who fish the river and from whom the eagles often steal their catch.   So in self defense the osprey have been seen more and more often fishing the spring run instead.   I see one today in fact.

   Thursday bike ride 024


AM walk Blue Springs 018



    AM walk Blue Springs 038


AM walk Blue Springs 036 


AM walk Blue Springs 035



Once I pass the concession area there are fewer and fewer manatee up toward what here is called the spring boil.


Tuesday at Blue Spring 047


I guess the water is warm enough down lower in the run and it is closer for the manatee to get out into the river and lagoon to feed.  There is no grass in the run.

The board walk winds through a beautiful hardwood canopy with views of the spring run at points all along it.





From the very top of the boardwalk, the vegetation has somewhat obstructed the view of the Spring Boil.  It’s the lovely green area to the left here.

Tuesday at Blue Spring 040


Tuesday at Blue Spring 043


The spring itself is a 110 foot deep cave.  As soon as they open it to swimming, the divers will be here too.


Eventually I walk back down the boardwalk at a slow saunter manatee like pace.

What a peaceful walk I’ve had this morning.  I look up into the blue sky puffy cloud day.  It’s a beauty for sure.

Tuesday at Blue Spring 051


Tuesday at Blue Spring 050


By the time I get back, the turkeys are leaving the picnic area and the park has opened for business.  


AM walk Blue Springs 007




AM walk Blue Springs 009C


  1. Very interesting post Do local people fish for tilapia in that area? I know they are farmed for commercial purposes and it would be nice to try a wild one (I don't eat farmed fish if I can help it.)

  2. What a peaceful walk I had with you. Felt like I was right there, love all the pictures.

  3. Did you see the article about the Manatees on CNN? http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/11/us/florida-manatee-deaths/index.html?hpt=hp_bn1

    Apparently the red tide is decreasing their numbers :(

  4. Such a variety of wildlife ... you're certainly at a great spot to enjoy them

  5. I was just going to ask you that too Sherry. We saw it on the news today also. I like to eat Talapia but don't think I will any more after seeing your pictures today.
    I took the word Peduncle and seperated it and then tried pronouncing it Ped Uncle. Works for me that way. I really enjoyed walking with you today. So many wonderful things to see. Do you ever meet other walkers out that early in the morning? So beautiful.

  6. Wow, what a great place for a morning walk. I definitely need to add some of these Florida parks to my list of places to visit.

  7. Marvelous Morning!!! Hands down, the best time of the day. So much fun to watch everything wake up:o)))

    When we were at Salt Springs, we saw many fisherman catching Tilapia with bow and arrows. Apparently, they do not bite on the normal line and hook setup!!

  8. I never knew those fish were Tilapia!

    As I sat here on the computer this morning...in the DARK, I was reminded that I don't like it getting light so late in the day. The sun is supposed to wake up when I do! Of course, I like that it's light later in the day.

    You really have gotten to know Florida in your time here. I like that you do. I see so many people who come to Florida and never really see the beauty that's in this state. Hey...that may be a good subject for a blog!

    Where to next?


  9. Can I count this stroll as my daily PT walk? :) I'm working on walking without the cane, and it is another challenge.

  10. Great morning walk, thanks for taking us along.

  11. We have a bald eagle habitat by our house, sometimes they are up in the trees by our house in the summer, big owls too, I worry they will carry off my little dogs!! Looks like a cool place

  12. Love your campsite, look at all the wildlife you can just go out and see! It's a far cry from the desert of Arizona, where on yesterday's walk I saw a purple butterfly, two bunnies, a load of quail, a lizard and numerous other birds. I just love seeing everyone's adventures. It illustrates the fact that we live in a big, beautiful world.

  13. Peduncle is a really fun word to say! Now we just need you to see deer, otters, and a black bear, and then we can say you've seen all our major local animals! I am so glad you're enjoying the park. It's one of my favorite places to drop by and hang out.

    Someone asked about locals fishing for tilapia. I've never seen anyone go out for them specifically. Most people take their boats out a bit further away from the park and fish for bass, among others.

    Also, yes, that was probably Stetson Crew out on the river. We also have some recreational (competitive) clubs that utilize the St Johns. Our friends Chris (the same guy who travels with us and is mentioned quite a bit in my blog) and Xandra both participate in recreational clubs and have come this way to practice.

  14. So, when are you publishing your voluminous Pictorial Guide to Florida's State and National Parks?

  15. Lovely walk with great pictures and narration. You are certainly a gifted photographer and story teller.

    Just one question: How did you get that lipstick on the Tilapia? You are a lady of many talents... ;c)

  16. Reading your blog is a good way to start my day before PT. You have made me long for the sandy trails of south Georgia and Florida. I missed this post, yesterday. The reader has gone wacky since I've been back on the computer so I use my own blog roll to see any updates to my regular blogs. I have the settings to list them in order of when last updated. Somehow I saw the 7th as the date and mixed myself up. So I got a "twofer", today.

  17. Humans are strange animals. I wonder how many people were sitting in front of their computers saying "peduncle"? It's always a thrill for me to see an Eagle. I've seen several in south Georgia parks, and of course, out west.

    Wonder if there's a "manner tea" party in the afternoon at the spring? (groan) :)

  18. The variety of animals there is wonderful! Birds, turtles, gators, manatee, humans, fish...so many! Great pictures of them all - love the last one. The End ;)


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