Tuesday, February 25, 2014


7 Dwarfs Mine Train, opening soon at The Magic Kingdom.

Sunday, February 23, 2014



Water Color show over at the Wildlife Park yesterday and today... some good work!

 Barbara Eaton Follett

 Susan Strawbridge

 Helene Lancaster

 Curt Bond

  Helene Lancaster (upper left)

Suzanne C. Mahr



Friday, February 21, 2014



Last week, after my walk down the birding trail at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, I took the boat back to the Visitors Center and got talking with the driver, and one thing led to another and I found out that: 1) they need boat drivers; and 2) that one can do as little as one 4-hour shift per week as a volunteer.

Wanting to drive a boat, and thinking even I might be able to handle the 1 shift requirement, I talked to various people, and on Wednesday, attended Volunteer Orientation.

The Park has over 300 Volunteers who assist greatly in every aspect of its operation. In fact, some of the first state parks were virtually created by volunteers.

After the general orientation, there are a few more steps for any particular position that a volunteer might want, and so this morning, I had to get up earlier than usual to get over to the park for the 9 o'clock boat run as a trainee ride-along, a Driver In Training, or DIT, so I could drive back the empty boat: usually the first boats of each day come back empty and DITs are only allowed (by law) to drive empty boats. I got there on time, but another trainee was already there, so I had to wait for the 10 am boat and standing around, and the variation in my rising time for the two days kinda wrecked my back.

When my turn came, I rode with Bob, who did something I have never experienced before: at just before the passing point, where off to the left, way high up in a very tall tree, has stood an osprey nest for the last 20-30 years, he pulled over and stopped. The nest is a big thing, pointed out on every trip, but only in passing. Well, the mating pair has just returned and is getting ready to go through the dance and play house for another season, and we all got to take a really good view of it. (We had a full boat, 45 guests.)

Just after we re-started our journey, we also had a fairly rare sighting of one of the wild gators in the brush along the shore. 3rd time I've seen it in a hundred or so trips down the river as a guest.

We finished the run, got to the far end, unloaded and it was already time to head back as a 3rd boat had been added to the run schedule.

Bob turned the controls over to me, and I started by backing out and turning the pontoon boat up-river. This is an awkward vehicle, very heavy but lightly powered, quite suitable for the use and conditions, but slow to respond, requiring anticipation in directing its motion.

I only "crashed" once: bumped into some brush on one side.

About two thirds of the way back, Bob took control again for a difficult narrow second passing, now with three boats running, and stayed on the wheel back to the dock, so I haven't yet had a chance to dock, which is the tricky part I am told, kinda like docking to the ISS.

I helped with the unloading and reloading, but stayed behind as Bob took out the next run and I called it a day, my back aching badly, came home, napped and rested for a bit, then headed out again and over to The Seagrass Resort on the Homosassa River for their First Anniversary celebration, and to take advantage of Captain Jody Hogan's $5 boat ride up to the park and back on the Homosassa River. About half an hour. Nice ride. Gorgeous day. Lots of kayakers on the river. Lots of nice houses on the river. Didn't stop, just turned around at the park headwaters and headed back down river to the resort and docked.

The Seagrass Resort
The Observation Deck at the Wildlife Park as seen from the Homosassa River

A musician had been playing when we left, and another was playing now. I talked to Captain Jody for a minute about diving tours, then stepped onto the outside serving deck and ordered a drink and a burger and listened to the music. Spent about an hour and half.

 Gregory Ford wailing on guitar

Headed up to Walmart to get a shirt and pants for my uniform, hit the park office on the way back to get my patches. Also picked up a study and test guide for a Florida Boater Safety ID card I need from the state.

Headed home.

Good day.

Looking up.



Friday, February 14, 2014



It was freezing here last night.



From about 4 am till 9 am.

I had to go out and turn on the hose and pool pump to keep them from freezing.

So... this afternoon, I went swimming.

The pool at Bicentennial Park in Crystal River.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


It was cold and windy over at the Homossasa Springs Wildlife Park this morning. Lots of wild manatees hanging out near the spring head, the fishbowl. The waters were choppy.

The water level was very high, quite the opposite of where it as seen in the image below from just two days ago. Torrential rain yesterday.

Using my poloroid sunglasses as a filter in front of my lens, I was able to catch this pod of manatees huddled by the shore just inside the bridge. There were several other groups at the fishbowl and at several spots along the river between there and the bridge. I counted roughly about 30-40.

Both beaches in the alligator lagoon was underwater.

 A few other animals around the park this morning.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014



We have a real treasure here in Citrus County, Homosassa to be precise.

The Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is the most visited park in the state system and is home to one of the largest volunteer corps in any such facility.

A few things going on at the park are covered in this guest article by Susan Strawbridge, Park Services Specialist.


Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is starting the new year with the introduction of monthly themes focusing on our natural and cultural resources and opportunities in Florida State Parks.

February will have two themes. The first will spotlight artists; famous and current. This theme was selected to celebrate the famous American artist Winslow Homer who visited Homosassa later in this life to enjoy the fishing opportunities and natural beauty of the Homosassa area. This inspired him to create 11 beautiful watercolors in February 1904. An exhibit of prints of Homer’s Florida and tropical watercolors is featured in the Florida Room at the Park’s Visitor Center.

Keeping with the artists’ theme, Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park will be hosting two art shows in February. The first will be the Wildlife Park Arts & Crafts Show at the Visitor Center on Saturday, Feb. 15. This show and sale will display the arts and crafts of members of the community. The show and sale will include paintings, photography, crafts, and books.

On the following weekend, Feb. 22 and 23rd, the art work of members of the Citrus Watercolor Club will be exhibited with original paintings, prints, cards, and more offered for sale. The Club’s membership consists of 135 members. About 35 members will be exhibiting their work at the annual art show. The Club will donate 20 percent of all sales from the Arts in the Park show to the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park.

In February, the Park will also promote many ways to get fit in Florida State Parks. In addition to the Park’s monthly bird walks and ongoing Tai Chi classes, the Park will introduce a series of four exercise/fitness classes on alternating Monday mornings in the Florida Room. These will be taught by Patti and Steve Griffith and will focus on improving balance, range of motion and strength. These exercises and practices are useful in improving a person’s ability to perform normal, daily tasks.

Citrus County Audubon will lead a monthly bird walk on Pepper Creek Trail on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 8:00 a.m. Meet at 7:45 a.m. if you are interested in participating. Register by calling (352) 628-5343.

As you can see, we have a lot planned for February and encourage you to visit Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park to enjoy the Winslow Homer exhibit, both art shows in the Visitor Center, and opportunities to get out and exercise by joining the new exercise/fitness class or joining the bird walk on Pepper Creek Trail.

CONTACT: Susan Strawbridge, (352) 628-5445, Ext. 1002


Thursday, February 06, 2014


When it becomes about the performer rather than the performance, that's when it falls apart.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014



Big photo day today.

Pull out of the drive and there are our local Sandhill Cranes out for a stroll down the street.

Hit the post office and found a new set of stamps. Harry Potter! They make a great "scrapbook" of the movies.

Then, headed over to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. Wanted to get in early to see if I could shoot the signs without the sun's glare on their cover glass, and was determined to just do that and get on with other things. But... just so many great shots every time.

54 year old Lu and his pet ducks.

Go Gators! 

And, now 61, I still make this look good!



Monday, February 03, 2014



I think you'll enjoy this one. Random scenes around the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Citrus County Florida. All images and videos are straight out of my Lumix FZ 200.

Saturday, February 01, 2014


This misty morning at the Wildlife Park...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?