Florida’s manatees are indeed world famous! And some of the few remaining natural warm freshwater manatee wintering sites are in Crystal River’s Kings Bay, part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. This is also one of the few places one can observe these gentle giants underwater. And this I am very thankful for.
Days Japan, a very well respected photojournalism magazine, contacted me before Thanksgiving and asked me to write some text to go along with the five photographs they had picked out. I was excited to write an article and captions that would be translated in Japanese. Indeed I think the Japanese lettering goes well with our manatees’ personalities! What do you think?
Thanksgiving brings everyone together, so inevitably sometimes there appears the odd “unwelcome guest”, also known as “The Guest Who Would Never Leave”. This happens in manateeland too, and here is their day-before-Thanksgiving story.
If you have gone to see manatees you know it’s been difficult to observe them lately because it’s so unseasonably warm. That’s good for manatees though, warmth assures they have extra opportunities to feed, take care of their calves and socialize before the winter cool down when they gather at the springs.
Theo and I went on Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving. I knew it would be a 50/50 chance of seeing manatees in the clearer springs at Crystal River. But we gave it a go and hoped for good luck!
Surprise! Early arrivals! An eager male manatee chases an algae-covered mom and calf at Three Sisters Springs.
Manatees arrived earlier than I predicted, but fortunately I know this can occur so we were ready. And little did I know we would witness a bit of manatee drama. Continue reading →
About two weeks ago I was putting myself through some paces with a bit of preseason in-water camera practice, when low-and-behold a young female manatee appeared!
Hello There Young Lady!
This manatee was a little curious, but her primary goal back in Three Sisters Springs was to munch! She seemed to know exactly what she wanted for her vegan meal. I suppose her mother did a good job of showing her where early-season tasty bits were to be found. Continue reading →
Sirenians hold many secrets and have for hundreds of years. In the wake of the New England Patriots “Deflate-gate” scandal, I went undercover–and underwater–to see what manatees knew about the mysterious deflated footballs.
Manatees are experts on buoyancy, bubbles and breathing. They don’t even think about PSI when inflating and deflating themselves, it all comes naturally! Manatees know a lot more than us about what constitutes a hard and a soft football. Here is a photographic lead documented on January 20, 2015.
“Uh…, it wasn’t me” says this manatee back in Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River Florida. I found out more on further investigative questioning…, you’ll see in the video evidence below…
People.com recently posted “The Sexiest Manatees Alive”. You couple that with some great new manatee viewing data, along with my photographs on the VisitCitrus.com site, and a post is in order! I know I said my next post would be about recently arrived manatees, but while I consult with researchers about an unusual behavior I witnessed, here’s some fun manatee buzz!
Honestly, let’s give “Little Boy Blue Manatee” a break here. He was a documented orphan I photographed nursing off at least two different females in 2010! Due to his rotund appearance it was concluded he was adopted and doing great. He’s a boy…, he didn’t stick it out…, he just has a lot down there… and he’s proud of it! Who knew People.com would notice for their “sexy manatee” post? Here’s the actual photograph:
Little Boy Blue Manatee Floats Over A Warm Spring in January 2010
Visit Citrus has also put together an updated website showcasing how to politely observe manatees. Many of my photographs are used. Continue reading →
Right now, as I am writing this, there are manatees moving into the freshwater spring areas around Crystal River, Florida. Yea! Their arrival is a gradual process though, so I thought you might like to see what Three Sisters Springs looks like right before the manatees arrive for the winter season.
October 24, 2014 – No Manatees Yet Enjoying The Three Spring Vents
March 27, 2014 – Note The Same Three Spring Vents In March!
The green lyngbya algae blankets areas invasively all around Crystal River. Even the lovely Three Sisters Springs is not immune. Note the difference at the end of the season in late March. Where did the lyngbya go? Continue reading →
Being all about the images and letting them speak for themselves, WetPixel’s Full Frame includes short titles. I wrote some more descriptive captions, though, I thought some of you might be interested in. I have included a quote of the text I wrote and the images 1-23 in the order they are in on Full Frame. The only thing added is a descriptive caption below each image for those interested in a little more story behind the shots, plus the month and year of the photograph. In the future I’ll write more extensively about each photograph, but for now here is much more data. I also note the three brand new images I debuted for WetPixel’s Full Frame! Continue reading →
Whew! I just got caught up on delivering photographs from this past manatee season! Now I get to work on finding more manatee photographs, like this one! What do you think this mom manatee is saying about the photographer to her young calf? Clearly, they are both checking me out…
Manatee Mother And Calf Pause To Check Out The Photographer
Many more intriguing manatee photographs await in my archives. I can’t wait to display more! Of course, I had to finish delivering images to my very patient friends. Here is a sampling of some I burned to disk today and will be in the mail tomorrow! Continue reading →
How curious are manatees? What happens when a snorkeler quietly floats nearby? Are we watching manatees or are they watching us? Let me give you a glimpse of my project to document passive, polite observation at the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, Florida.
Floating quietly with hands to oneself is the best way to invite a profound interaction. This adult female manatee is curious about Meredith and is approaching to say hello. January 2014.
For many years now I have been observing and photographing manatees in and around the springs of Crystal River, Florida. Continue reading →
Taking lovely manatee photographs is one thing—making sure they are represented properly on a client’s wall is another. I just received four print proofs from West Coast Imaging and they are absolutely gorgeous! From time to time I’ve had hurdles with labs duplicating the Florida spring’s unique blues and cyans correctly. West Coast Imaging’s duplication of my files is as near perfect as it can be and I’m looking forward to a long relationship!
iPhone pic of Manatee Print Proofs from West Coast Imaging. Phone doesn’t do them justice as they are quite stunning. Best prints I’ve ever ordered!
This is merely a quick iPhone photograph of the proofs, but you get the idea.
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, 2014
This young female calf above sports a blanket of thick algae and a bit of a little “grin”. Continue reading →
Movies often evoke dramatic thoughts and pictures, even years later. Such is the case when I saw the movie “The Godfather”. In a suspenseful moment, after Sal Tessio retrieved a package including a fish, Clemenza says , “It’s a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.” I must admit I got chills when I first saw it and I never forgot that scene. But now something’s changed and I can’t quite conjure up the drama connected with that scene. Why, you ask? I think this photograph will explain why…
Manatee Sleeps With The Fishes — January 10, 2014
Manatees “sleep with fishes” and they do seem to enjoy it so!
Today is Friday the 13th! Though superstition calls for this to be an unlucky day, my experience is it usually has a strong element of luck to it! CC the Manatee was lucky he had so many people concerned during his rehabilitation and after his release — but two weeks ago CC was unlucky enough to encounter what was thought to be a speeding boat, ending his life.
CC the Manatee Finding His Way After Release
Orphaned and weighing only 55 pounds, CC was rescued from the Caloosahatchee River in Ft. Myers, Florida on July 1, 2006. Many manatees that small have a hard time surviving after rescue, but CC triumphed! You could call him a very lucky manatee. Continue reading →
Manatees gather together in the wintertime at various warm water sites around Florida. Some of these manatees frequent natural freshwater springs. Fish also enjoy congregating near the outflows of spring water. It is here that manatees and a number of fish species share the same watery real estate until the weather warms and manatees spread out again. While together in the springs fish often surround manatees as illustrated in this photograph:
Fish Gather Around A Manatee In The Springs
Interaction between fish and manatees is an interesting behavior to observe. In fact some fish, particularly bream also known as sunfish (Lepomis spp.) and sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus) are known to continually surround and peck at the manatee’s skin especially while they are resting. Note the bream below are nipping this manatee: