Fever of cownose rays spotted off St. Pete by satellites

- A fever of cownose rays Tampa Bay, off the coast of St. Petersburg, its temporary home in January.

The fever could be seen off the Pinellas County side of the Gandy Boulevard Bridge and was photographed from the water and the air.

Around the same time, satellites that take pictures for multiple agencies, including Google, NOAA, and the U.S. Navy, passed over Florida to capture updated images. The result is a compilation of satellite, aerial and water-level views of hundreds of cownose rays enjoying the warm bay waters in mid- to late-January. 

Satellites captured images of the bay on January 11, 2017, according to Google Earth's desktop program.

On January 31, Mike McCarthy from SeeThroughCanoe.com took video of the rays while boating in the bay. 

And on February 18, Thang Luong was biking to work near the Gandy Bridge and spotted the fever just off the shore. 

Cownose rays migrate from the Gulf of Mexico down to South American beaches, based on water temperatures. In January, temperatures in the Gulf are usually too cool for the rays, but this year the water stayed warm enough to keep them around. Air temperatures in St. Petersburg only dipped below average highs and lows on six days in January 2017.

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