Wild Monkeys in Florida!

For years now, I have been visiting Silver Springs, Florida in search of the infamous Monkeys (Rhesus Macaques) that roam the area. I have heard multiple stories about people seeing them, and even seen some photos that have popped up here and there…but never laid eyes on them myself, until this past weekend.

As we (my girlfriend and I) arrived to the parking area, I said to her: “I am starting to think these things don’t really exist. I have been here way too many times not to see them yet.” Even with many doubts of the monkeys existing, we hopped into our kayak and paddled off into the somewhat unknown. The kayak trip started as expected with lots of turtles and some alligators, which are always great to see, monkey gatorbut we were there for something else.

After stopping to check out some alligators, it was time to move on. Now about an hour into our kayak adventure, I am starting to once again, have doubts.                                                Moving along, we see someone up ahead in a kayak staring off onto land, as if they just saw a monkey! Sure enough, they did! We paddled up and parked next to the shoreline and gazed in pure amazement. There they were! After years of visits, I finally laid eyes on the infamous Silver Springs Monkeys! It was more exciting than I expected it to be. monkey looker

At first, we thought there were only a few monkeys in this group, but as we sat longer and longer, we ended up seeing at least 10, maybe closer to 20 monkeys, chilled out, eating, checking us out, climbing around and playing. It was incredible!

monkey baby eats

How and why are their monkeys in Florida, you ask? I will explain:

They were brought to the area in the late 1930’s by a tour boat operator, known as “Colonel Tooey,” to enhance his “Jungle Cruise” ride. Little did he know, the monkeys can swim! Some of them wandered off and started new colonies, and some stayed in the area. Now it’s said that there are at least 5 colonies in the state, but are most commonly seen around Silver Springs state park.

monkey baby cutemonkey creeper

This was one of the coolest things I have seen in this great state known as Florida!

Seek and enjoy.

 

-Mark Mulville

Advertisements

The good, and the ugly.

I was feeling like I needed a little bit of exercise yesterday, so I hoped the bike and took a stroll. Per usual I brought my camera along, just in case something crazy were to happen, or if some wild animals decided to pop out in front of me. Sure enough, I spot my first wild animal! Only issue was, it was dead. There was a 4-5 foot alligator, floating on its side in the water next to me. It was definitely a sight i was not expecting, or wanting to see.. mi-deathThis certainly bummed me out a bit, as I love these beautiful, beastly creatures. But I didn’t let that totally ruin the adventure, as I still wanted a bit more exercise anyway.

From there, I make my way deeper into the woods, and further away from any roads or people. Like a few of my recent adventures, I start to spot lots of animal foot prints! Besides the obvious deer and raccoon prints, I am still not quite sure what these tracks are from. I’d like to say either a large cat, or a coyote.mi paw.jpgNow I just want to come in contact with whatever animal is responsible for these. More adventures will be had in this general area, until I spot the culprit.

I was starting to get tired and near the end of my bike ride, but I was slightly bummed a bit. I was bummed about the dead gator that I spotted earlier in my ride.

As I got closer to my car, I look next to me and see a very large and beautiful Great Blue Heron! These are definitely one of my favorite birds. I am not one for birding, but I do love seeing these, and many other larger birds/birds of prey. mi heron.jpg

Get outside and adventure.

 

Mark M.

 

 

Island Style. February

When I start getting antsy (which is always), I have to get up and do something. Typically my quick free times are spent just riding my bmx bike around near the beach, jumping off everything in sight. But, when I have more time to kill, it’s adventure time!

This past Friday resulted in just that. I had about 2 hours time to get out and about, so I took a trek back to Merritt Island to try and find some wild animals to hang with. At first, I just kept seeing animal foot prints, but no animals. I saw foot prints from: raccoons, deer, birds and bobcats….but no animals.island-prints

Even though I was out there partially to calm my antsy nerves, I was becoming more and more antsy from not seeing anything! Then, right as I am getting ready to call it a day, I spot some Horseshoe crabs in the water! I was pumped! I ended up seeing 18 shacked up horseshoe crabs, doing naughty things, right in public. Two of them were even getting dirty on a piece of 70’s shag carpet that was dumped in the water! island-crab

As I move on now, much more excited on the adventure, I spot something big off in the distance. It was on the other side of a good sized lake and at first glance, I thought it may be a pipe or something..It looked big! So I took a little journey to the other side to get a better look. Then, I make out what it is. It is a huge alligator! I ditched my bike, and got in stealth mode. Once I get closer, I notice this is a very large creature. It was at least 10 foot, if not much bigger. As I approached it, I got spotted. The alligator lifted it’s head up a bit to check me out.island-big I gave it a few minutes to relax and then I proceeded to inch closer, one small step at a time. I end up within 6 feet of this ancient creature, and then decided to stop. I didn’t want to scare it, as it was soaking up some sun rays. After a few more minutes of hanging out with it, the gator lowered it’s head, closed it’s eyes, and began to nap the afternoon away. At that time, I was a bit whooped to, so I took a seat down next to the gator and chilled out for a bit. It wasn’t till I got up to head back to my bike, that the gator finally opened it’s eyes. island sleep.jpg

This definitely turned out to be an exciting adventure. Not all wildlife excursions are successful. But when they are, It is such a treat.

It’s time for another adventure!

 

Mark M.

February 16. Wild Florida.

Sometimes, my favorite wildlife adventures are quickies… I find a good location, then try to cover as much ground as possible in a short amount of time.

Today’s adventure was just that. I drove to a spot not far from home. Grabbed my bike and camera, then proceeded to wander. For the first 10 or so minutes, my only encounters were a few different types of beautiful birds (which was not bad in any way).

wet-birdwet-halkwet-crane

But per usual, I was looking for a bit more danger. That’s when i turned a corner down a trail to see a 4 foot alligator, mouth open, sun bathing. I knew it was on from there! My next gator encounter was an easy 11+ feet long, and also soaking up some winter sun rays!

wet-gatorwet-big-one

Those two beauties were just the start!

As I peddled further away from civilization, I see many many more gators ranging from 2-6 foot. But this one caught my eye for some odd reason.. I sat for a few minutes just staring at it, wondering what it would do if I approached it. So obviously, I walk a bit closer and stop! I stopped because it made some movement, and i didn’t wanna scare it off from its sun bathing spot. So I sat there now for a few minutes. A bit closer. A bit more in wonder. That’s when it started itching, like you’d see a dog, or a cat, or a bunny, or something with hair or fur do. This was honestly a first for me! To see an Alligator itch itself! To most, this is probably nothing, but I was honestly so excited with this sighting that I ended my adventure early on account of what I just seen. Knowing I would most likely not see something so different.

wet-gat-n-turtwet-happy-gatwet-itching-gat

Florida is full of natural beauty, and wildlife! I am grateful for these adventures!

Thanks for reading.

Mark Mulville

February 9. Wild Florida

People always ask me:  How do you see so much wildlife? My response is typically the same….I look for it! Wildlife doesn’t always come to you. You have to seek it out, and sometimes its right in your neighborhood.

While riding around on my bike near home (Cocoa Beach) yesterday, I stopped at a random spot along the Banana River to take a quick break. I happened to see something moving under the water right in front of me, so I waited. Finally, a manatee pops it’s head up for a quick breath of fresh air, then heads back under the surface. After a bit of underwater eats, it found a nice patch of grassy goodness floating on the surface. I then watched the barnacle covered sea cow munch it’s way through the entire patch, before heading off.

merritt-man

After my manatee sighting, I took a drive to Merritt Island where my friend Josh tipped me off about a massive Bald Eagle nest, which was now said to be housing a Great Horned Owl. As soon as I arrived, I seen the huge nest. I wandered below it for a few minutes, but didn’t see any owls, or eagles, just a nest. I finally found a good viewing spot. So I posted up and waited… After waiting patiently for quite a while, I see a head peek over the edge and stare me down. There it was! The great horned owl! we locked eyes for a while, then it closed them up and took a nap, right in front of me. This was definitely a worth the wait.

merritt-owl-awakemerritt-owl-sleeps

What’s a Florida adventure without some Alligators in the mix…

From the owl location, I headed out to a spot on North Merritt Island, hoping to find some Bald Eagles. Instead, I found one of my favorites: the American Alligator!  While on a nice bike ride around the lake and through the woods, I seen about 6 gators, anywhere from 2-7 feet in length. Nothing massive, but still amazing as usual.

merritt-gat

And that was how my Thursday, February the 9th went.

Get outside and explore!

-Mark Muville

Adventure Blog, post 1

Hello all.

My name is Mark Mulville, and here is a quick background story to why I am starting this blog.

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been obsessed with wildlife, exploring, adventures, and the great outdoors. My parents would take my brother and I camping any chance they could. Most times while on these quick excursions, we would either hike or canoe, in search of wild animals (mainly dangerous ones, since being raised in Florida). At that time, I just kept the images and stories in my head. As I got a little older, and technology advanced, I was able to use my cell phone to snap photos of up close wild animals, and situations… These days, I use a real camera, and get even closer to the animals, which make for a much more appealing photo.

So with all that said, I decided to start this blog for my photos, and some words.

Below are a couple shots I snapped while out and about.

I hope you all enjoy,

Mark M.1-gatorthe-gator-eyescb-waves