Bad Squirrel! Wait….

As you can see, Tony often makes a mess when filling his bird feeders. As you may or may not realize, this means I get opportunities. To take pictures! Yes, squirrels are a nuisance, but they can be really cute sometimes. And you kind of have to feel sorry for critters with thumb-less “hands.”

I know it’s not the best angle for the light, but you take what you get. He stayed there when I opened the sliding glass door. That’s got to be worth something.

Rainbow River

This is Rainbow River. I thought this was a nice picture to show the sort of plants there are in most of the places Jean and I visited while we were in Florida. It was beautiful in such a foreign way. Made the temperatures a bit more bearable. *grin* It was in the 80s while we were down there and I sure was glad to come back to the 40s here.

Rainbow River has a bit of the river (right at the head spring) cordoned off for swimming. This picture just shows how clear the water is. The leaf is at the top of the water, but everything else is on the bottom. There were not many places I (at 5’5″) could reach the bottom…this was not one of them.

Hopping in was a bit unpleasant. You have to just do it. The water temperature is pretty high compared to the ocean (why manatees live at Homossasa), but it still was not terribly pleasant on my skin. That cold and knowing that I couldn’t touch the bottom made my breath freeze, so I got out before too long. The advantage, I suppose, was that Jean and I stopped complaining about how hot it was. *grin*

Rainbow River is not just a place to swim. It also has some very nice walking trails. These waterfalls, as explained in the park (another built after a private park closed), were built by the first owners on top of the remains from mining. I didn’t have a tripod, so the longer exposures are a bit fuzzy (I had a fence, but even then, my hand isn’t terribly steady, I guess).

This was our last day sightseeing in Florida. We had a lot of fun and I really got to relax, which was extraordinarily nice. I wasn’t too keen on coming back for school, but that’s what you get for being a student, I guess.

Clearwater Beach

Jean really wanted to go to a beach while we were in Florida and I thought that sounded like fun. I was not interested in going to Daytona or some other beach that was going to be overcrowded with college students on Spring Break. She talked to Cappy who said that Clearwater is a nice beach. Which, I’m sure it is when it’s not Spring Break. In spite of the fact that it’s not Daytona, there were a lot of people there. I’m used to winter beaches, which are often mostly abandoned. Fortunately, we only stayed for about 2 hours. While I enjoyed the beach for the short time we were there, I have to say I prefer winter beaches, when there aren’t many people around. I’m not all that fond of swimming, so that doesn’t matter as much (though it’s fun to take pictures of other people who are playing in the water).

Homossasa Springs State Park

This is Lu. He’s the only non-indigenous animal living at the Homossasa Springs State Park. As in most of the other places we visited while we were in Florida, the park was originally private. All of the other exotic animals were given new homes, but no one wanted a gigantic hippopotamus. So the governor of Florida made him a citizen and he lives happily near the alligators. I heard he turned 49 this year, which is really old for a hippopotamus (or so they say).

These are Lu’s alligator neighbors. When Jean and I passed them, they were quite happily sunning themselves (along with some of their friends, who didn’t fit in the picture). They were still there as we were leaving. Guess reptiles are lucky that they’re so cold-blooded because Jean and I were both quite warm. :)

There were flamingos all over in the bird section of the park. All of the animals in the park are there because of some issue they had in the wild or because they were born in captivity. These flamingos are only a few of the ones we saw as we walked around. There were several small groups and one rather large group. In the large group, there must have been a bunch of males because they were frequently fighting amongst themselves. But that’s just a guess.

These are a couple of kestrels (I think…). Most of the pictures of the really cool birds weren’t very cool because I didn’t take Tony’s camera with me when we went into the park. When we arrived, the building didn’t look like there would be much that would be worth taking pictures. I didn’t realize until later that we had to take a boat ride (over a mile) to the final destination with all the animals. Bummer.