Maria's Florida home is very near several natural springs that feed into the nearby Suwannee River. And since we enjoy checking out the flora and fauna wherever we go, we spent one morning visiting a couple of the local springs.
I have been to Manatee Springs twice before while down there on Spring Break with Emily. The first time we actually saw several manatees swimming (or more accurately, LOUNGING...) in the pools, but the second time everything was flooded and it had been overrun by big black vultures so we didn't stay long.
It's really beautiful, and yes, the water really is that aqua color and fairly shallow in most places (except where the springs bubble in) so it's a favorite swimming hole for the locals.
Maria and her kids call this park "Snake Springs" for this very reason...LOTS of snakes.
BIG snakes...many of them poisonous, although the park rangers assured us this particular one was not poisonous.
I really don't care...a snake is a SNAKE!!! UGH!!!
Mama, Wyatt, and Barb checking out the scaly critters...
...which also include oodles of skinks running around...
...and anoles skittering about.
This anole just had to show off!
We walked down the boardwalk through the cedar-shaded swamp...
...and this blue dragonfly posed right atop a perfectly-lit cypress knee just for my camera! Now if I were TRYING to photograph a dragonfly, I'd never have gotten one to land anywhere, let alone facing me in perfect lighting....this was PURELY a little unexpected gift from God!
The boardwalk leads to the Suwannee River.
Mama, Barb, and Wyatt on gator-watch! None were sighted, but you can be sure there are plenty around!
I'm fascinated by the Spanish moss, although it is very destructive to trees.
This bush is called American Beautyberry. For obvious reasons...
I googled it and found that it is native to Florida and very useful for medicinal purposes, food for wildlife, and rubbing the crushed berries on your skin repels mosquitoes (very useful in these parts, where the mosquito could be the state bird...).
Just a short distance away is Fanning Springs.
There were lots of people swimming there, and since I don't like people ruining my nature photographs (unless, of course, they are MY people!),...
I focused instead on this beautiful, elegant egret.
See his yellow foot in the clear water!
Speaking of MY peeps...here are my Florida peeps! Maria and her two children Wyatt (14) and Seanna (11...who obviously would rather be swimming than posing for Aunt Terry's photo...).
Wyatt with his favorite aunt (don't tell Barb!) and Grandma Lois...
The House girls...Mama with me and my sisters!
Exploring some of God's beautiful creation...
Florida springs flora and fauna.