Florida Day Four: A Manatee And A Yellow Bellied Sapsucker At Key Largo

Florida Day Four: A Manatee And A Yellow Bellied Sapsucker At Key Largo

Fordia Day Four Key largo manatee and sapsucker (22 of 39)
Previous Post
Next Post

After my morning visits to the parks in Key Largo, some relaxation at the pool and editing photographs in my room at  the Seafarers resort, I visited some friends at the Kawama Yacht Club.  It was located a few miles away on the opposite,   Atlantic coast, of the key. While touring the  facilities at the club,  a woman told us there was a manatee at the marina. 

I had never seen a manatee in the wild. In fact I don’t think I had ever seen a manatee, even in captivity. We quickly  walked to the marina and were treated to not one, but two manatees, enjoying the calm waters of the marina. 

Such massive, yet gentle creatures.  I was amazed at how docile they were. They were oblivious to the group of people who gathered to watch them. 

I have since learned there are three species of manatees in the world, The African manatee, the  Amazon manatee, and the West Indian manatee, the ones that live in Florida.

The manatees are related to the modern elephant and evolved to live in water and eat mainly aquatic plants. 

They are endangered, mainly because of loss of habitat, but also from encounters with speeding motorboats. Both of the manatees had scars from their encounters with motorboats and their propellers. 

I also learned they visit the marina to drink the fresh water that runs off from the washing of the boats that are docked at the piers. 

We spent the next hour or so watching these marvelous creatures float and slowly swim  in the  late afternoon sun. 

One of them approached a pier and appeared to smile at me as I took its photograph.   I now know it was looking for fresh water and not my friendship.  Here is a link to my YouTube gallery where I uploaded a video of one of the manatees swimming  at the marina . https://youtu.be/1AZzTXoggHg

As much as  we enjoyed watching them it was getting late and I was getting hungry so we continued with me tour and visited the swimming pool. My friends had observed a yellow-bellied sapsucker at the pool earlier in the day. And sure enough it was still there, using its long beak to drill holes in a palm tree.

It was a juvenile, since it did not have red feathers on its head yet. 

It did not seem to mind us watching it drill away at the bark of the palm tree. 

This bird drills holes in a tree and returns to feed on the sap that oozes out, as well as insects, mainly ants, that become trapped in the sap. 

Theyellow-bellied sapsucker breeds in the northern United States and  winters in southern United States and the West Indies.  I am guessing this juvenile was born late last year, maybe even in the woodlands of Northeastern Pennsylvania. 

After watching this pretty bird, it was time to eat. I joined my friends for a nice meal and a few beers at a local restaurant, a great way to end another day in the beautiful Florida Keys.Here is a link to a gallery with more of my photographs of the manatees and yellow-bellied-sapsucker. Florida Day Four afternoon critters  March 13 2020

“Each year sees the disappearance of thousands of plant and animal species that we will never know — that our children will never see because they have been lost forever. The great majority become extinct for reasons related to human activity. Because of us, thousands of species will no longer give glory to God by their very existence nor convey their message to us. We have no such right.”
– Pope Francis

This is my first post