The following Silver River photographs were taken by Ocala Nature photographer John Lingle on a normal Silver River Day.
Change is in the air. This fall the Silver Springs Attraction will be back in the hands of the State of Florida for management, and the Springs will become a part of the Silver River State Park. Efforts are being made to preserve the head spring, and to protect the water, flora, fauna and wildlife.
As you journey along the Silver River it amazes all that this River has remained virtually uncompromised by modern expansion. There are no developments, condos, or concrete. Just the River, the Springs, and the wildlife. “Florida as it used to be ” and “The true Florida we came to see” are both comments often voiced by those who come to see this gem of Mother Nature.
There is always something new or different to enjoy. This time of year we start looking to see if the manatees will return. Just this week a manatee was spotted several times along the Silver River. Posed for a few pictures as it enjoyed the constant 72 degree water temperature. This is the third consecutive year that these rare aquatic mammals have been sighted, and we are grateful for their return. Use extreme caution while maneuvering where manatees are present.
Boaters beware of the multiple snags along the River. Recent storms and accompanying winds have created more than the norm, and several will be difficult for larger boats to navigate around.
Until next time, see you on the River!
Some of the largest deer I have ever seen in Florida were spooked the other day, and ran down the edge of the Silver River, at the convergence where the Silver empties into the Ocklawaha River. I heard some noise coming from the bank, looked over, and there they were, a buck and two does apparently running for their lives. I don’t know what spooked them, but it sure was a sight to see.
The Rhesus Monkeys along the Silver River have been putting on a show here lately. We spent around 15 minutes watching them jump from one side of the River to the other. On a different trip, we were entertained by some monkey rivalry. The bigger monkey was intent on shaking the smaller one off of the tree limb, using all of his antics, jumping up and down, hooting and hollering at him, and finally knocking the smaller monkey into the drink!
On the Ocklawaha the other day, we were thrilled to see a huge Bald Eagle.It must have had a 5-6 foot wing span. Large schools of Mullet were jumping out of the water….watch out, one might decide to take a ride in your boat!
Due to high waters from the recent rains, logs that had been previously banked are now floating in the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers. No Wake Zones are for a reason! Also, keep an eye out for snags on the Rivers that are constantly on the move in this ever changing environment.
See you on the River!
The birds are in such abundance on the Silver River that the numbers are countless. The Black-crowned Night Heron is a rare sighting, and we saw several on one trip last week. Also putting in an appearance were several male and female Wood Ducks, Pileated Woodpeckers, King Fishers, Limpkins, and of course, the Herons. The Cormorants are continuing to build their nests in the trees near the Springs.
The Rhesus Monkeys were out and about. By the way, we just found out the monkey leading them on a merry chase in the St. Pete area probably originated from the Silver River. Have Banana…will travel!
Lots of life in the water…a Cottonmouth, Nile Perch and Mullet were easily seen. The just hatched baby Gators are about 6 inches long.
For navigation purposes there are no snags on the Silver River at this time.
See you on the River!
The season is changing on the Silver River, fall is giving us some beautiful weather. Day temps are in the 80’s, with the overnights in the 50’s.
On a recent trip down the Silver River, the gators seemed to be scarce. Well, they were just hanging out, down on the bottom, trying to stay warm. An interesting site to see, them resting just under you as you boat over them. Oh…by the way….GO GATORS! The monkeys didn’t seem to care about the change in temps, we spotted several different troops jumping from tree to tree. A Bald Eagle flying over us was an added bonus for the day.
Remember to time your trips to leave a little earlier. The shortening daylight can catch you by suprise.
Take the time to visit the Silver River State Park while you are in the Ocala/Marion County area. Please check with them for fees and operating hours, in paticular for the Museum. A great place to share with your children, with a walking trail down to the River. My mother and I had a deer run past us as we walked the path to the Silver River on our last visit there. So many have told us that they had no knowledge about it, that we want to share this special place with our readers. Just another of the many opportunities in Marion County to enjoy nature.
If you get the chance to visit the Silver or Ocklawaha Rivers, come back to our site and post a comment with us. We will be glad to share with our readers your experiences along the Rivers.