Sunday, January 27, 2008
The day began cool and cloudy, keeping alligators hidden.
Mostly. This is the only one I saw. The sky did clear, and it warmed up this little fella. Not to warm, the high for the day was 66.
It rained a few inches last week, and it showed in both the water level and current. Good if you're a mottled duck.
Also good for paddling downstream. It took 90 minutes of easy paddling to reach the mouth of Blackwater Creek, a four mile trip. When I arrived I saw my first boat of the day, and it was downstream, so we did not cross paths.
Blackwater Creek is a narrow waterway that flows from Lake Norris to the Wekiva. I have yaked it in three spots.
(1) From a launch in the Seminole State Forest, downstream 5 miles to the Wekiva and back. This requires a permit from the Division of Forestry. I did it once. Other attempts to obtain a permit resulted in unreturned messages.
(2) Paddling the upper portion of the Creek near Lake Norris.
(3) Entering the Creek where it joins the Wekiva and going upstream.
Blackwater Creek changes greatly with rainfall. I've paddled it when it the water level with low, water clear from the small springs that feed it. I've paddled it when heavy rains make it hit or miss to locate the channel. This trip, the channel was well defined, level higher than my last visit. Banks where I glimpsed large alligators in the summer and fall were underwater.
I planed to paddle about 90 minutes in the creek. I was at the 70 minute mark when I arrived here.
So I turned around.
A beautiful, serene, paddle.
The great egret above was not bothered by my presence as I moved closer,
remaining focused on its prey.
I also saw hawks, woodpeckers , anhingas and a lone limpkin in the Creek. Saw the splash of an alligator, diving for cover in the shoreline vegetation as I approached.
Out of the Creek, I had to paddle against the current. Fortunately the wind was at my back.
I took this into consideration when planning my day. Nice when the forecast is correct.
Dave's wading birds + sunning turtles = alligators matrix did not compute this trip. As stated above it was cool and they could have been beneath algae mats like this one.
I had noticed the algae on the way downstream. Coming back, I began to see flecks in the water, and wherever there was a blockage in the River, vast amounts of it bunched up. Smelled a bit too. Runoff from recent rain, I'd reckon.
I encountered five motor boats on the way back, no paddlers.
One green heron.
And one otter. Briefly peeking above the surface, then disappearing. Not even an arched back or flick of tail.
A bit more than six hours after I began I landed at Katies Landing, secured the yak and was on my way home.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008 I kayaked the Haulover Canal. The paddle portion of the day is here:
As mentioned in the Green Wave Forum, my day continued after I finished yaking. Here are a few pics.
After the short paddle, I stopped at the Scrub Jay Trail. This is a one mile loop. I had almost completed it, without seeing any name sake birds, when I saw one on the gentleman's cap. I have read that the jays will do this, now I saw it. Other scrub jays were in a nearby tree and several more on the path. In the Ocala National Forest, the only other place I have seen these birds, I never see them on the ground. Then Mr Jayhat pointed out the peanuts on the grass. Left by someone else.
Back to the parking area, I walked along what seems to be a service road/trail along the water Here was some of the best birding of the day. A flock of white pelicans. Unlike brown pelicans, they don't dive for dinner. Instead, they work as a team, corralling their prey. The area was full of roseate spoonbills well.And herons, and egrets and herons, oh my!
I ended the day with a walk on the 2 mile Palm Hammock and 1/2 mile Oak Hammock Trails. Saw a wild hog. No bird pictures.
Refuge literature states the area attracts so many species because it is where the temperate and subtropic zones meetThe gumbo limbo next to the oak is apt illustration I could not leave without talking a picture of this historical marker. On, Wisconsin !
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Then, this September, I paddled past Kings Landing, and kept going. No obstacles. I noticed many fresh saw marks. Someone had cleared the Run. That someone was the folks from Kings Landing. I sent them a thank you email.
A Great egret joined the ibis I saw on the way to Kelly Park.
Spotted two otters, several miles apart, on the way back. During the afternoon, the clouds cleared, temps edged toward 70. The campsites, unoccupied on the way up, now had tents.