I began at Trout Creek Park, eight miles downstream from Sergeant Park. I was in the water by am. I mention birds, here are an ibis, great blue heron and limpkin in a single frame.
Here's a better view of the limpkin.
This tri colored heron was just out of the frame.
Here, a great egret took flight as I tried to take its picture. I like the result.
It has the egret, reflected in the clear water, flying up the cypress lined River, as turtles bask on the left bank.
This was the first paddle I have done since mid-August where water levels were not affected by Tropical Storm Fay. The Tampa area received only 1-3 inches of rain from that event. In fact, the River was much lower, than it was my last trip, August 10, just before Fay.
Back to the bird variety. This is a black crowned night heron.
A distinctive looking bird, one I do not see often. And when I do, it can be hard to photo, flying into cover. Except on the Hillsborough. I saw more, and got more photos of these birds than ever before. Here's another.
I saw just two other boats on the River until I was almost to Morris Bridge, when an armada of kayakers passed by, going downstream. I noticed "TBSK" stickers on a couple of the craft-"Tampa Bay Sea Kayakers " Way to many people for my taste, but than I think three is to many. The last person in a fifteen boat train probably won't see scenes like this.
Red shouldered hawk dining on shrimp.
Morris Bridge Park, like Trout Creek and Sergeant Parks, has a launch/landing area, boardwalks along the River, restrooms and other amenities. A good place for a break. I did not stop, opting to continue. I paused about 15 minutes later, at an overlook at the end of an old logging trail, now a mountain bike route. I like to stop here instead Morris Bridge for seclusion. No having to compete with other paddlers going out and coming in. Of course, after I landed a group of 8-10 mountain bikers pedaled up. But, being a dead end, they had to turn around. I ate half a sandwich, a couple cookies, and got back in the yak. Not before taking this picture.
This hiking trail was underwater my last visit, August 10, 2008. Go to that Tale for a picture if you don't believe me.
Of over seventy pictures I took in eight hours, I may be most proud of this one.
A belted kingfisher. This bird is seen on virtually every paddle flitting from branch to branch, quickly diving, skimming the surface, rising back to the tree line, chittering noisily. They don't stay still for long.
I saw about six gators up to this point, none as big as the smallest yesterday on the Econ. This group more than doubled the count.
I first saw the turtles, and paddled closer to take a picture of that group. The baby gators were a bonus.
Mom, close by, ignored her progeny.
A closeup of the kids.
Another three for one photo. Turtle, great egret and wood stork.
I arrived at Sergeant Park at 12:20. A group from Canoe Escape was headed out. I asked the bus driver if the last group still left at 2 pm with the change to standard time. So informed, I took the balance of my lunch to the boardwalk and ate at the confluence of the Hillsborough and Flint Rivers. Back to the launch, where another group was going out. I waited about ten minutes for them to get ahead, then I launched down the canal towards the Hillsborough. Where the group was congregated, after going up the Flint first. I did the same, getting the gator picture on the top of the tale, and more.
Quality time with the gators as the renters headed downstream. Speaking of quality time, on the way upstream, I made a mental note about the lack of trash on, and in the River. Past Morris Bridge, I saw a kayaker pushing a long metal pole into the water. " Looking for the deep holes ?" "Picking up trash", as he pulled a can out of the water. I thanked him then, and later when we met again in the canal at Sergeant Park, a white trash bag packed with cans on his bow. "I need to get one of those big black bags" People like that are wonderful. They help make pictures like this possible
Another bird often heard calling "who cooks for you" lesser seen.
I had to put my camera away for a while, as rain fell off and on. Never to hard, but I wanted to keep the camera dry. Just checked the UPS tracking website. My new waterproof case left Jacksonville at 7:20 PM. It's 8:35 now. Aint technology great ? Back to the Tale. I passed canoers I recognized from the first group at Sergeant Park, before I got to Morris Bridge. The later group must have passed them as well. Looked like I'd have the entire Morris Bridge to Trout Creek stretch to myself, as renters rarely do the entire 8 miles.
I saw a family of three fishing, than no one, until I heard the distinctive whack of paddle on side of canoe. I waited for the paddlers to pass. It was the same group that I had seen at Sergeant Park, the ones that went up the Flint first. They must have been taking a break at Morris Bridge Park when I passed by. The exception that proves the rule, good for them.
I waited until they were out of sight and sound, then continued. The usual flocks of vultures hung out at Nature's Classroom.
Sandhill cranes, and a Hillsborough favorite of mine,
Trout Creek is across from the boardwalk fishing pie, just upstream of the landing. I paddle up Trout about 10 minutes to this spring.
It is different then most springs I visit, as it is warm. It's a sulphur spring, sometimes giving off a rotten egg aroma. No stench today.
I landed just after 5, an eight hour day. Perfect timing, as the rain began to fall harder as I put the yak on the car. The restroom came in handy to change into dry clothes for the 90 mile trip home.
Need to see more ? I have 10 additional pictures on the Green Wave Forum.