Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wildlife at Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center

(Click photos for larger images.)

Tampa Electric's Big Bend power plant releases warm water into the bay as part of its production process. Manatees and other wildlife are attracted to this area in the winter. You'll see manatees here in large numbers when the Gulf water temperature dips below 65° Fahrenheit (18° Celsius).

Here's one of the viewing platforms with the power plant in the background.

There are all kinds of interesting contraptions around the power plant.

You don't have to walk far to see the wildlife. There are several viewing areas to explore.

You can find the manatees where ever there is a disturbance in the water.

Manatees are large air breathing mammals. You can see them surfacing often to breathe.

Here is a needlenose fish and a sting ray.

A pelican enjoys a spot in the sun to preen. The Manatee Viewing Center is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail.

Admission is free. The Manatee Viewing Center is open to the public from 10am and 5pm between November 1st and April 15th.

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