North-central Florida has been blessed with fantastic and seemingly endless crystal-clear springs. The Floridan aquifer is close to the surface in this area and water pressure caused by water percolating into the limestone formations already filled with water flows to the surface. Some springs discharge more than 65 million gallons of water per day. Several state parks have been located to include these springs.
|Swimming with anhingas in Rainbow River|
|This manatee winters in Homosassa Springs|
|Sunrise over the St. Johns River|
|An American egret hunts for breakfast|
on Appalachacola River.
|Mangrove swamps provide critical habitat for fish, invertebrates, birds, and mammals. |
The red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) is one of three mangroves, but only one the one with stilts for roots.
We featured mangroves in a this posting.
|The Corkscrew Swamp near Naples houses a vast and fascinating collection of interesting plants and animals.|
Here's another example of the critical role mangroves play. The cold snap that occurred in January this year caused the water temperatures to drop so low that massive fish kills took place. Snook, a favorite of fisherman, were killed in especially high numbers. The species is adapted to events like this, however, and the normal response is an especially high spawn in the spring so that the population can regain stability. But because we have lost so much of our mangrove shoreline, the high spawn numbers will not be fruitful. The baby snook need the protection of mangrove roots. The mangroves provide a virtual nursery for them. Without the mangrove nursery areas, the spawn cannot survive in any significant numbers. Here's a link to an interesting site supported by a sporting group, fly fisherman. Good discussion and illustration of mangrove importance.
|Sometimes fishing can be hazardous to a bird's well-being.|
|Brain coral thrives in Pennekamp's protected waters.|
Dive and snorkeler boats cannot drop anchor here, but
tie to mooring buoys afixxed into the bottom.
|Vehicle drippage causes rainbows as it's washing into|
the nearest stormdrain.