For the first few years I lived in Florida I lived near Orange City, which sits about 20 miles south west of Daytona Beach. Although , not near the ocean, there are plenty of parks, lakes and rivers nearby. One such park is Gemini Springs in nearby DeBary, Fl. There is an approximately 4 mile hiking/biking trail that starts at DeBary Hall, runs through Gemini Springs Park and heads to Lake Monroe Park. I used to live to hike that trail, as well as the the smaller, non-paved trails in the park. It was common to come across Armadillos, Hawks, Osprey, Eagles, Turkeys, Deer, Alligators, Ibis, Herons, Egrets and even Cooters. You might ask, “What is a Cooter?” as I did when I first moved here… a Cooter is a large turtle…
This Cooter was right alongside the trail, and almost looked to be laying eggs. Don’t worry, I left enough space between us as not to disturb her. She stayed here for quite a while, and was still in the same area when I came back by almost 45 minutes later.
Not far from this spot, there is a small lake with some high tension lines mucking up the view. What I consider to be an eyesore however, Bald Eagles consider prime real estate to keep an eye on that small pond. Of, course these other smaller birds, which look like Grackles, like this perch as well. There must be enough fish in that pond that the Grackles feel safe to be hanging out with an Eagle.
While all of this was going on, just on the outskirts of the park, the waters of the springs themselves were busy as well. This cover of coots (no really, look it up. A group of coots is called a cover) is busy hunting for small fish and frogs, although they do also eat vegetation. They have to keep an eye out at all times for predators, Eagle, Osprey and Hawks from above and Alligators from below.
Nearing sunset, I decided it’s time to head home for the day. Before I left, though, I snapped a picture of the DeBary Bayou being fed by the springs.