We scoured the regular locations in the coastal regions but the manatees were no longer there due to the water temperatures. Manatee historically ride out cold weather snaps in warmer- fresh water fed springs. Fellow birder and RRI Energy rep, Bill Baker had generously opened tours for Space Coast birders to witness manatees gathered at the warm-water out-flows of their power plants (just like the winter gulls in Cleveland!)
Unfortunately, that did not fit within our schedule, so we were forced to travel an hour north of Orlando to witness the gathering at Blue Springs.
The trip to Blue Springs did not disappoint! The crystal clear water and evergreen vegetation was a a stark contrast to the murky black waters oft the St. James cypress swamp. Manatees were lined up along the banks by the hundreds! Note the big gray masses in the water, it's our 1000 pound manatees at the winter spa! It must take a lot of leafy-greens to keep a herd this size fed. For more general West Indian Manatee info -click here-.