A nice pre-Leap Day paddle on the Silver River. Just an out-and-back from the Silver Springs State Park launch.
We figured it was about time for early nesting and we were not disappointed. The Cormorants were busy with their courtship behavior and nest building – which we discovered was a VERY noisy affair. One couple building a nest would sit, both of them in the nest, dip their heads over the side to adjust some of the sticks, then extend their necks up together, sometimes parallel, sometimes intertwined, squawking the whole time. The male would then fly away, returning after a few minutes with a stick, which the female arranged in the nest. Then it would start all over again.
Also saw monkeys, herons, gators, ibis, wood stork, and lots of cooters.
Paddling down the Ft King canoe trail. The trees still look bare, but most are starting to bud out. So spring isn’t too far away.
Nesting pair of Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus). Their nesting behavior gives a new definition to “necking”.
Monkeys (actually Rhesus macaques, not monkeys) enjoying the sun. NOT leftovers from the Tarzan movies, but brought in purposefully by the old Silver Springs attraction to spice up their jungle cruise trips. There are several troops licing wild along the Silver and Ocklawaha now.
The little monkeys were having such fun today in the sunshine, chasing each other around in the trees, jumping from tree to tree, climbing up and down and hanging upside down. They would stop for a while to eat some of the new tree buds, rest for a bit, then they would be at it again.
Cooters (Pseudemys sp.) on the Silver River. Take a look at those front claws! The long foreclaws indicates this is a male.
Green Heron (Butorides virescens ) wading in the shallow water.
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana). Only saw one today, but he was willing to pose for us for a few minutes. Such ugly heads on such otherwise beautiful and graceful birds!
Immature Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) resting. They are usually very wary birds, but this one let me take lots of pics from only a few feet away.