Saturday March 11th 2023
After last nights rain filled front passed through the area, it was another nice day. The humidity was down a lot and the temperature was a few degrees cooler. The peak temperature was in the low eighties with a good breeze. There is another twenty four hours before the next front arrives with more rain.
Exploring other areas of the park today I found more signs of tree damage from the storm. There are more trees down in the other camping loop as well. All of the trees seem to have fallen in the same basic direction. The camping loops sit in an island of trees surrounded by open areas with only low bushes and a few trees. Combined with the nearby lake it is possible for the wind to really build up some strength.
This is the start of spring break. Most of the Florida school systems have the upcoming week off. That has an influence on the people in the state park. A lot of tent camping families arrived yesterday and more today. The TV news indicates that record numbers of spring breakers from other parts of the country are expected in the area over the next few weeks. There is concern that the beaches will not be usable because of red tide. Many dead fish wash up on different beaches every day. The red tide has been moving north and south along the west coast of the Florida peninsular.
Wandering around the park today, I started to see some wildlife. Unlike the south Florida area I was in the last three weeks, this area doesn’t have a ton of water birds. Even though there is a large body of water in Lake Manatee, it doesn’t seem to attract birds. The wildlife I spotted today was the ground variety. First up was a Gopher Tortoise feeding on some grass in the picnic area. There were also plenty of squirrels in the picnic area. Later in the day on my walk to the boat launch, I walked up on an Armadillo. We were both pretty startled. It made a quick retreat into the brush as I tried to get a quick picture.