The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1941, is comprised of over 31,000 acres of saltwater bays, estuaries and brackish marshes at the mouth of the Chassahowitzka River. The refuge, located approximately 65 miles north of St. Petersburg, FL, was established primarily to protect waterfowl habitat and is home to over 250 species of birds, over 50 species of retiles and amphibians, and at least 25 different species of mammals, including the endangered West Indian Manatee.
I lifted this description of Chassahowitzka straight off of the internet. Just a little way up the road from me is such a wonderful natural resource that I probably would never have discovered if not for finding the photography classes offered by Alice Mary Herden at Creative-Nature-Photography.com.
I had heard of the extensive underwater cave system here in Florida, unfortunately because of the deaths which occur when people without the necessary training attempt to explore the caves. What surprised me was the access. An unimpressive staircase to enter a little pond, no bigger than the ‘lake’ in my back yard, is the access to such an amazing system of caves. It seems like the entrance ought to be more dramatic than it looks. It’s sad to think that divers have entered and never returned.
But the objective of the day was bat photos, which you won’t find here because none of mine turned out. “It’s hard to capture the bats in a photo”, said Alice, and she wasn’t kidding. And an owl would have been nice, maybe next time. But here is what I did manage to capture.
The Zipper spider was my favorite. I had heard them mentioned before and wanted to ask why they were named that, but once I saw one I didn’t have to ask anymore. What a perfect time to discover this place, with months of gorgeous weather ahead to explore and enjoy.