Category Archives: Wildlife

Silver River Monkeys – October 14, 2016

In our blog on October 12 about our Silver River paddle, we promised some monkey pictures after we had edited them.

In the late 1930s Colonel Tooey, who ran the river-cruise tourist attraction, bought several Rhesus macaques and released them on Monkey Island, near Devils Elbow on the Silver River.  He thought they would liven up his jungle cruise.  The monkeys found a favorable habitat there and quickly expanded throughout the neighboring forest.  Now, 80+ years later, there are at least separate 4 troops along the Silver River.  They have also expanded along the Ocklawaha River into the Ocala National Forest and perhaps as far south as Lake Griffen.

For years people motoring up and down the river and visiting the Silver Springs attraction feed the monkeys, sometimes creating problems, both for the monkey and humans.  If you see the monkeys, please do not feed them.  Give them 50 feet or so of space, then sit back and enjoy the antics.  Watch out particularly for the big alpha males and females as they will charge with bared teeth if they think you are a threat to the troop and the females will vigorously protect the young ones.

After viewing the still photos you can watch some short videos of one troop crossing the Silver River using overhead trees on our video page HERE.

An alpha standing guard over the troop.

An alpha standing guard over the troop.

Young monkey checking us out.

Young monkey checking us out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mama carrying baby.

Mama carrying baby.

A baby peeking at us.

A baby peeking at us.

 

 

 

 

 

We stopped and watched one troop moving from one side of the river to the other through the overhead trees.

We stopped and watched one troop moving from one side of the river to the other through the overhead trees.

 

More babies playing in the trees.

More babies playing in the trees.

Osprey – June 10, 2016

During lunch on our June 8 paddle we found an osprey nest on top of a sign on Lake George. It was a really hot day – heat index over 100 – with no shade in that spot.  The baby osprey are getting big, but not yet fledged.  So we sat and watched the adult osprey swooping down on the water to get their legs and belly feathers wet, then returning to the nest to hover over the babies to cool them off a little.  They took each baby in turn so all got a cool off and some shade then it started over again with the first baby.

Both male and female parents were there and took turns. One would swoop into the water and return to cool down the chicks, while the other would stand watch high above in the nearby trees.  Then the watcher would swoop down into the water and the one on the nest would go up to stand watch.

It took us a while to figure out that this was what they were doing, but it’s really amazing what you can see when you slow down, look with open eyes and take the time to really see what you are looking at.

Adult and 2 of the 3 babies.

Adult and 2 of the 3 babies.

Adult osprey leaving nest to take cool water plunge.

Adult osprey leaving nest to take cool water plunge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hovering over one baby.

Hovering over one baby.

Hovering again over the babies

Hovering again over the babies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ocklawaha River – December 8, 2015

A short little paddle today on Rodman Reservoir during the draw-down.  Rodman Reservoir was created for the extinct Cross Florida Barge Canal but despeite efforts of conservationists, federal agencies and water biologists to restore the flow of the Ocklawaha River, the dammed basin lingers on over 50 years later because it is a favored place for bass tournaments = big money for a few local businesses and state legislators.  In order to keep the reservoir from becoming totally clogged up with plants they have to pull the water down 7-8 feet every 3-4 years so a lot of the vegetation will die off.

One thing you will notice from the pictures is the tops of a lot of dead trees out in the middle of the reservoir.  This is because rather than chop down many of the trees before filling the reservoir, they left them or rolled them into the mud at the bottom figuring they would rot.  Well, cypress does not rot in an anerobic environment, so the trees that were rolled under floated to the surface and the trees that were still standing rotted out only above the water-line.  So when they draw down the water, it’s a slalom course through the remains of dead tree trunks.

Rodman Reservoir

Rodman Reservoir and dead tree tops

Rodman Reservoir

Rodman Reservoir slalom course through dead tree stubs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since they are due to close the dam next month and allow the water to fill the reservoir again we wanted to get out there to see what we can see.  And what we saw was lots of birds.  Ibis, herons – Great Blue and Little Blue, Great Egret, Bald Eagles, loads of Red-winged Blackbirds, Wood Storks and many more.

We put in at the temporary extension of the Kenwood boat ramp landing near Orange Springs and made a 5-mile circle around the center of the reservoir.

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

Immature American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

Immature American White Ibis are mottled brown and white.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immature Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)

Immature Wood Stork (Mycteria americana).  The immature still have brown head feathers.

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immature Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)

Immature Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea). They turn blue near the end of their second year.

Southern Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus leucocephalus)

Southern Bald Eagle on an Osprey nesting pole