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Kirby Collins

Tomoka State Park – Camping, Fishing and Paddling in Central Florida

November 7th, 2012

Tomoka State Park

Tomoka State Park is one of those special places near Daytona Beach that appeals to your sense of adventure. Activities like fishing, camping, hiking and canoeing are just a few options for fun to get you started. Wildlife viewing is popular with herons and other aquatic birds all along the Tomoka River. One unique thing you’ll want to see is the Legend of Tomokie statue which was sculpted by a local artist in 1955.

Kirby Collins camping at Tomoka State Park

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Rusty Anchor Sightseeing Cruise – See Lake Dora and the Dora Canal

September 17th, 2012

Baby Gator

Captain Dan pointed out a baby alligator as he slipped into a small creek off the Dora Canal which connects Lake Dora to Lake Eustis. Both lakes are part of the Harris Chain which are popular for bass fishing and recreational boating.

Green Heron

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Dove Chick Survives Brush with Tropical Storm Isaac

August 28th, 2012

Yesterday when we were being buffeted by Tropical Storm Isaac, I walked outside to see a mourning dove chick, called a squab, lying in the parking lot of the condo I live in on Cocoa Beach. The squab had been blow out of the nest it was sharing with one other squab and a parent. Both the male and female mourning dove share the parental duties and I’ve seen both on the nest.

After contemplating whether or not I should intercede, I decided to move the dove squab with plastic bags on my hands to a somewhat sheltered area very close to its nest fearing it would be run over. Later in the afternoon the dove squab was gone, and I hoped for the best as I’ve seen squabs slightly larger than this fly. Early this morning all were missing, and I figured nature took its course.

Then right around noon today, I saw all three huddled under a nearby bush. So Cool! They are true survivors, I wish them all the best.


August in the Merritt Island National Refuge – Central Florida’s Best Wildlife Watching Spot

August 22nd, 2012

Wild Pigs

PIGS! I yelled as I pulled off the road and opened the door. Beverly was looking at a map or something and I had my camera in hand and stooped down to position myself behind a tree. I then motioned for Beverly to quietly come over and she slid in behind me in stealth mode. The seven wild pigs were feeding and doing what wild pigs do.

We were at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and had a great day watching a diversity of wildlife. The refuge is one of the best wildlife viewing parks close to Orlando to see a wide variety birds, mammals and reptiles.

Manatee on his back

A downpour left this manatee happily swimming on his back. He appeared to be drinking the rainwater as manatees need freshwater every couple weeks.

Osprey

There were many ospreys, like this one holding what appears to be a mullet.

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Relive History – Photos of Fort Matanzas

July 12th, 2012

Cannon at Fort Matanzas

In 1745, A Spanish officer and around six soldiers would be sent to defend St. Augustine’s southernmost access nearly 15 miles south at Matanzas Inlet. They’d spend 30-day stints protecting Castillo de San Marcos from the British and pirate ships. These solders had to endure all that nature could throw at them, strong storms, extreme heat and swarms of mosquitoes. Their outpost was Fort Matanzas, it offered them shelter from the elements as well as protection from cannon fire.

Fort Matanzas Quarters

After being built by the Spanish from 1740-42, Florida and the fort were traded to the British in 1763 in exchange for Cuba. Fort Matanzas was then reoccupied by the Spanish and eventually the US and Union Army before being decommissioned in 1900 after the Spanish-American War.

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Wild Florida Places – Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area

May 19th, 2012

Barred Owl

By Kirby Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com

When Zach Cooney said, “Look, another red-tailed hawk” we were hoping for another shot at photographing one we’d seen earlier. But this time what landed just across the canal was a barred owl, he looked over at us, his eyes almost asking “who?”.

Alligator

We were at the Tosohatchee WMA, a 30k acre plus recreation area located on the St. Johns River. I had the opportunity to accompany Morgan & Zach Cooney and their father Mike, of Cooney Wildlife Adventures, on this environmentally sensitive piece of land between Orlando and Cape Canaveral.

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Pictures of Space Shuttle Discovery Leaving Kennedy Space Center for Last Time

April 14th, 2012

Discovery Flyout
UPDATED 4/17/12

Kennedy Space Center, FL – The Space Coast said good bye to one of our most famous residence, Space Shuttle Discovery, on Tuesday, April 17. Discovery was flown over head along the Space Coast one final time. Discovery took off from the runway at KSC at first light, around 7 am, and then the orbiter and Shuttle Carrier Aircraft flew over Kennedy Space Center and the KSC Visitor Complex, headed south to around Patrick AFB then turned around and flew back up the coast along Cocoa Beach & Cape Canaveral and then fly out for D.C. Even though the shuttles are scheduled to flew out there will still be rocket launches to enjoy, for a complete list and schedule visit our Cape Canaveral Launch Schedule.

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Biketoberfest 2011 Photos

October 17th, 2011

Biketoberfest 2011 - Bikers on Main Street

Daytona Beach, FLBiketoberfest 2011 is in the books for this year and I must say it was awesome. The weather was near perfect and the crowd was the largest we’ve seen in recent years. Dirty Harry’s rocked it once more with their wet t-shirt contests, and give a ways. The Banker and Blues club had some cool bands playin’ hot tunes; the Dog House was the place to be for heavy metal and their famous dancing on the bar, bartending girls really got the crowd going. On Main Street bikes and beer booths lined the way and the International Speedway delivered again this year with some great races, bands and deals. The food was fabulous and the merchandise was flying off the racks. Daytona Beach, as always, was a gracious host city and everyone felt welcomed.

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Feeding Blue Heron in the Florida Everglades

August 28th, 2011

Feeding Blue Heron Part 1

Photographing wildlife is one of our favorite things here at PlacesAroundFlorida.com and on a recent trip to the Florida Everglades we snapped these pictures of a great blue heron feeding. Above, the heron stalking his prey.

Feeding Blue Heron Part 2

There’s the strike.

Feeding Blue Heron Part 3

Oops, missed him. More Everglades Pictures »


2011 Bike Week Photos

March 13th, 2011

Bike Week on Main Street in Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach, FL – Bike Week, for this year, is in the books and we have more photos than ever before. Last years event was really cold but this year we had warm, wonderful weather, much warmer than other parts of the country which, once again, sent thousands of bikers in from all over.

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