March Manatees Part 2

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Expanding on my post March Manatees Part 1, this March 2014 has been an interesting mix of frisky manatees, mothers and calves, blue spring water and as always the twist of some very intriguing manatee tidbits!

 Manatee Calf Plays With Mom – March 18, 2014Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. Horizontal orientation. An older male manatee calf plays intimately with his mother. This behavior is thought to be a signal to mom that her calf needs to be weaned. Strong March sunlight lights this intimate scene. The pair is floating in the warm blue freshwater of Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

Beginning where the last post left off, many of my friends wanted to know more about this frisky male calf growing up and his doting mother. I mentioned what Dr. Bob Bonde told me about this behavior in the previous post. Since I’m very exacting about going to the most reliable source for information, here is what Bob said to me in an email after my first observations of a calf nursing from his mother and then playing intimately with her:

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March Manatees Part 1

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Manatees in March – what is special about this time of the year in the freshwater Florida springs? First, we are very lucky to see manatees in March as if it warms a lot in late February a warm March will beckon manatees to leave the springs and spread out early.

If we have a cooler March, the manatees will tend to stick around near the warm springs and this becomes my favorite time of year to see them. The lovely blue spring water seems more abundant in March due to strong sunlight and milder cold fronts. There are more delightful mothers with their young ones out and about too. I find it peaceful in places like Three Sisters Springs during much of March. Yes, Spring Break is upon us, but I don’t go on busy weekends and find that when I do go the manatees have the springs mostly to themselves. Also the Manatee Watch volunteers do a good job supervising in and around the springs. It becomes truly quiet and serene as you will see in this series of photographs.

 Manatee Mother and Her Young Female Calf – March 4, 2014Florida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, endangered. Horizontal orientation. A young female manatee calf with a thick algae layer poses next to its mother in the warm blue freshwater of Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Kings Bay, Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida USA. (Carol Grant)

This young female calf above sports a blanket of thick algae and a bit of a little “grin”. Continue reading