The Silver River offers such a diverse amount of wildlife that it is hard to imagine seeing so many different specimens without being at a zoo. That is the wonder of the Springs. For ages they have been a gathering spot for life looking for food and water. As you travel along the River you will see many different birds, turtles, fishes, monkeys, and alligators. The occasional bear or deer can be seen along the banks.
Most come to see the Rhesus Monkeys. Others just want to see the gators. The beauty of the many birds will draw folks from around the world. Regardless of what your special reason for coming is, the main appeal is that these critters are all wild. No cages and no caretakers, you will see just the bounty of nature.
Early morning is the best time to see the River right now. Try to get off by 8 a.m. in order to beat the heat. Remember that it is a three hour trip to the basin of the Springs and back so bring along plenty of beverages or water.
The Silver River never ceases to amaze me. After many years of touring this natural wonder, I’ve witnessed everything from mullet jumping into the boat, to a Blue Heron using a piece of bread as bait to catch minnows. It is a very diverse and unique eco-system and you just never know what you will see.
Today was no exception. We spotted a troupe of about 30 Rhesus Monkeys not far from the dock. As we pulled over to get a few photo’s and watch the “show”, a funny thing happened. About half the troupe decided to go swimming. These acrobats were intentionally jumping our of trees 20 feet above the River, and everyone of them did a belly flop. They would then climb back up the tree and do it again. What a show! In over 30 years of boating on the Silver River that was a first for me. Like I have said before, you just never know what you are going to see.
A recent trip down the Silver River reminds me of how fortunate we are to have this beautiful waterway preserved for all of us. It is no wonder that so many of our guests come back year after year, and bring along their visitors or family members. It is simply a special place. You might come to see the wildlife, or it could be to just get away from it all, whatever the reason, the River remains the same…unchanged.
Hardly a minute goes by that you are not siting a new animal or bird. From the fish, turtles, alligators and more that are in the River, to the eagles, hawks, herons and more that are in the air and trees, the Silver River is home to a countless number of year around residential and migratory wildlife. Capt. Tom spotted yet another group of manatees recently, and as always we get excited about their return to the River. Of course, everyone wants to see the Rhesus Monkeys. They will be spotted on about 99% of our trips, and as with all the wildlife, they are wild along the waterway.
When planning your trip this time of year, try to go on the weekdays, or early on a weekend mornings. This is best to be sure that you can see the wildlife before they are disturbed by other boaters. Remember that it is a three hour boat ride from the departure location at Ray Wayside Park to the basin of Silver Springs, so be sure to bring along plenty of beverage as the temperatures climb as we approach summer.
The dog days of summer are fading, giving way to those beautiful fall days on the Rivers. Foggy, cooler mornings enticing even more wildlife out to feast on the bounty of these waterways. Even the bite time for the Largemouth Bass has doubled as they also benefit from the changing of the season.
Fall is always one of the best times to see the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers. A foggy morning departure allows you to feel that the River is all yours, breaking into sunshine mid-morning to surround you with the beauty of the flora and wildlife. The tree leaves are changing to their fall colors and reflecting off the crystal clear water as can only be seen this time of year.
The number of birds will slowly begin increasing as the cooler temperatures to the north chase them south on their migratory paths. The wildlife that inhabits the Rivers year around is so bountiful that when the migratory birds begin arriving the increase is simply amazing. The birds, alligators, and other inhabitants are everywhere you look.
Speaking of other inhabitants, Capt. Nick spotted the largest Rhesus Monkey he has ever seen along the River this week. He was at least twice the size of any he had seen previously, and in his glory as the obvious dominant male. This monkey was on the Ocklawaha River, right at the convergence of the Silver. Knowing how these critters range along the Rivers there is no telling where he will be sighted next.
Thankfully fall will allow for more time on the Silver and Ocklawaha, as the kinder temperatures allow us to have more lazy days on the Rivers. You are always welcome to bring along food and beverage for your enjoyment on our three hour tour of the Silver River, so please plan a picnic if you wish. We have never said no to mans best friend, so bring him or her along for ride. As always, all charters are private.
Until next time, see you on the Rivers!