Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring on the lake

Spring in Central Florida makes a brief appearance before yielding to a long muggy summer that seems to last longer and longer each year. So I do my best to spend as much time as possible outside when the weather is comfortable and the light is still crisp. As a result I haven't been inside at my computer blogging on weekends.

I am fortunate enough to live on a small urban lake and springtime on this watery oasis is a celebration of life. In February female Tilapia dig out beds with their tales on either side of our pier. This prolific species of fish is native to Africa and Asia and is considered invasive to Florida. I'm not quite sure how they came to be on our little lake, but their numbers are astounding. While I wish they were largemouth bass or another Florida native, watching them spawn every year is a fascinating way to mark the beginning of the season.

Also in spring the migratory ducks head back north and wading birds sport their audacious breeding plumage and chase each other around the lake. This spring I've seen Great and Snowy Egrets, Great Blue and Black Crowned Night Herons, Ibis and Wood Storks just to name a few. Our mollusk-eating Limpkins, year-round residents, become ever more vocal, and one bird in particular has become so comfortable on our dock I have named him Larry.

Every year I'm amazed at this incredible amount of natural activity just yards from a constant stream of unaware motorists and I imagine what Florida must have been like when lakes like this were untouched by human intruders. Thanks to my little lake, I get just a little glimpse of what that must have been like.

These elegant swans appeared one day and left the next. I'm not sure if they were just passing through on migration or venturing out from Lake Eola Downtown...

Even the smaller species seem to be caught up in the rites of Spring.

Larry the Limpkin finds a steady diet of fresh water mollusks and snails around the lake

Male Tilapia flood the shallows towards the end of the spawning season. One day I came home to find a Bald Eagle dining on one in my backyard!

Tigger the cat tenses up as the bird activity outside increases

An outrageous Bougainvilia punctuates that fact that Winter is behind us for another year


  1. great shots, tigger seems to have a set of binoculars to help him see !

  2. Great shots, Rick. And you know Tigger was just dying to get outside with all those birds.