Great Elassoma photos Casper!
Unfortunately that grass carp photo was taken from quite far away, so that's the best I could manage at color correction, but it was my sharpest shot of them. Life is rough when you don't have RAW files. I may start over with the original image and see if I can do better.
I was pretty amazed by how tolerant the birds were as well. It was either like they didn't know gators eat birds, or that (and I can't believe this!) they knew we weren't gators. I think we were every bit as stealthy and graceful in the water!
Also, I'm skeptical of how willing those park rangers would've been to let us go downstream, seeing as how they seemed to pull rules out of thin air when it came to how close we were allowed to approach the manatees. I was a bit irritated that they were yelling at people for not being fast enough to get 50 feet away from an animal that is a very adept swimmer. If they'd seen that manatee swim directly under me, NANFA would probably have been permanently banned!
citrus county is the only low hassle area for manatee, and unfortunately, even that is changing