Recent Manatee Sightings

A manatee scratching his back near Ormond Beach, Florida.

Ormond Beach, Florida: A Manatee Watch volunteer for Volusia County, Terry Duncan sent a favorite photo from earlier this year that she thought we might enjoy. "It's a photo of a big guy who was scratching his back in shallow water," says Terry. "I have observed this a few times, and it's a really funny sight. After scratching his itch, he went back to rejoin a female and calf he had been pestering."

Manatee munching on a "buffett," a Beemat of native plants.

Brevard County, Florida — A Manatee Buffett: Patricia Tierney writes, "This manatee is checking out and sampling vegetation from my Beemat — a floating island that has Florida native plants (these are salt tolerant) that take up nutrients from the water to help improve water quality. Beemats are designed and manufactured in New Smyrna Beach to be installed in stormwater ponds (which are usually free of manatees). So far the manatees have only sampled a couple plants, pulling them from their cups and eating the foliage. They spit out the root ball! While not specifically designed for the Indian River Lagoon system, these floating islands are part of our personal commitment to educate and do our part to have a positive impact on the water quality in our surrounding waterway."

Manatee mother and calf sighted near Brevard County, Florida.

Brevard County , Florida: Patricia Tierney also sent this photo of a mom and calf, which we then passed along to the U.S. Geological Survey's Sirenia Project, who track manatees along the southeast coast of the United States. Cathy Beck, Wildlife Biologist for the Sirenia Project, was able to identify the mother manatee by her scar pattern. "Thanks very much for forwarding the image!" said Cathy. "She's an old female, first documented in 1988. Her sightings are from Miami to Brevard County, and it's so reassuring to have a recent sighting of a well-known manatee after this last harsh winter."

Manatee mating herd in the Intracoastal Waterway near Sebastian, FL.

Sebastian, Florida: Linda and Bill Boluk are members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 56 Vero Beach-Sebastian. In August, they were on a routine Auxiliary safety patrol in the Sebastian area when they spotted a mating herd right in the middle of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). A very big thank you to Linda and Bill, who maintained a perimeter watch and alerted approaching vessels of the presence of the manatees until the mating herd broke off from their activity and swam away. "It would have been very difficult for anyone traveling the ICW at any speed to have spotted this group," wrote Linda. "They appeared as splashing water that could have been generated by a passing boat. Adding to the danger, they were not in a designated manatee zone. (I guess they were too preoccupied to find a zone.)"


Manatee sighted in Norfolk, VA.

Norfolk, VA: Troy Carpenter and his wife Suzanne had just returned from a sailing trip at the end of July when they were surprised by this manatee. "Seeing one around is so rare that we had to report this sighting," he wrote "This was the best picture we could take because we totally had to do a double take, and I could not believe my eyes. He came up several times and was as sweet as can be. Will this little guy be okay?" Although it is not common, manatees have been known to travel as far north as Massachusetts in the summer, so this particular manatee was probably fine. However, manatees who have not returned to Florida waters by autumn are at risk from developing cold stress syndrome as they cannot tolerate water temperatures below 68 degrees. Residents living along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf of Mexico are reminded to watch for manatees and immediately report any sightings.

Doc the manatee at Blue Spring State Park.
Lillith the manatee and calf at Blue Spring State Park.

Orange City, Florida: On September 1st, Wayne Hartley sent us photos of some early visitors to Blue Spring State Park. Adoptive parents will be glad to see that Doc (top photo) made an appearance, and (bottom photo) the manatee with the calf is Lillith, daughter of Lily, another manatee in Save the Manatee Club's adoption program. These photos were taken by Blue Spring Ranger Diane Schwartz.

Glen Allen, Virginia: Cheryl Waller shared this cute photo. It's just one of the many outfits she uses to dress up her manatee lamp post to celebrate the seasons.

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