Zenfolio | April L. Gustetter | April 2014

67 photos
Hunter Spring Park
104 North East 1st Ave
Crystal River, Florida

Hunter Spring Run hosts a small but pleasant municipal park, perfect for launching kayaks. This park has a beach area, a volleyball court, picnic area and public restrooms.

The park is very busy on weekends, but it's free, the water is pretty clear (human activity has created pollution), and varied sights make any time worthwhile. Certain times of the year (specifically in the winter), it's a great place to see the endangered West Indian manatee, and while I was told two were very near my yak, I didn't actually see them on this day.

Hunter Spring Park is also part of The Great Florida Birding Trail that includes the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge and Kings Bay. Forty to fifty bird species inhabit the trail, with Anhingas and Double-crested Cormorants topping the list for greatest number spied. All the wading birds can be seen, however, including Great Blue Herons, Little Blue and Little Green Herons, Tri-colored Herons, Black and Yellow Crowned Night Herons, Great White and Snowy Egrets, Wood Storks, Ibis, Pelicans, and Kingfishers. Bald eagles and osprey nest in the bay area.
It was a four-hour paddle launching from Hunter Spring Park, on a partly cloudy day, and I just couldn't get enough.This was one of the first homes lining the shores, and while it wasn't particularly impressive, the water it overlooked was.Soon though, it became obvious sights above the water were going to be as worthy of my attention as what was below.Sadly, I believe what is "hanging" off this dock's wood is man-made pollution...but it still made for an interesting scene.Photographically, you can't really go wrong when you have light, wood, lush growth, and water.Just one of the feathered friends I got to meet - love the Double-crested Cormorant's orange faces and crystal teal eyes.Passing by from the opposite side, this dock still intrigued me.Tiniest houseboat I've ever seen.Not keen on being one of many, but can't blame the throngs of humans that felt moved to get out in this beautiful day.No idea what this beautiful hunk of rust once was, but in this moment, it was art.I promise he has TWO legs...See?I was fascinated by the contrast between these babies, esp. having recently learned why the female is the blander of the couple.Just like a man to show off.This venue had a little of everything - including ice cream!May very well become my Christmas card this year :DThis gorgeous Cormorant was so patient with me...the winds had picked up and the water was so choppy, I couldn't stay still, requiring many attempts to get this shot.One of the best moments of the day.Many of the homes in this area were mid-century types like mine...this one had some awesome natural architectural features.Love the texture and colors in this one, especially the rusty rod sticking out of the center.