Six or so kayakers landed as I launched from Snow Hill Road. They had come down from County Road 419. I asked if they saw any eagles. Yes, and an alligator.
The anglers headed back up the River as I came down, no one else on the water. One, maybe two bikers on the trail through the Forest.
I did not see much wildlife on this hot day. Other than vultures and butterflies, you see what I saw for the first 90 minutes of the upstream paddle. Few people as well. A canoe and a kayak. Then two small jonboats with electric motors, then one kayker angler, and another kayak fisherwoman. One reason I decided to paddle the Econ was the chance to see a bald eagle. I did.
I paddled for two hours, turning back at a campsite on my left. Too hot to keep going a little further to a high bluff where people also camp and a nearby eagle nest.
That dark thing is a fire ring at the campsite. There also appear to be benches, a new amenity to the campsite. They can't be seen in this photo.
After so little wildlife on the way up, the above great blue heron, alligator and anhinga, were all in the same deep, wide bend in the River. The great blue took flight, seen in the opening photo.
I had asked one of the anglers if the eagle saved her some fish. "I saw it flying, beautiful!" It may have flown down River.
A little further down River, I heard a twig snap. Deer, I thought, then, no, probably a hiker or biker. Another snap, and I saw the deer. Flash of brown and white tail as it ran off. Seemed to be more than one. Not a bad afternoon. Alligator, bald eagle and deer. Saw another gator, within hearing distance of a family on the bank, a few in the dark water. Not a place I would be. Late in the afternoon, a few more people on the bank, fishing, or just relaxing.
I had seen three of what I call, "Florida Icons". Animals who's size, beauty, or rarity make seeing them a thrill. The list is expandable. I may to add another. Family of three, tent, not at one of the State Forest sites, on the bank. Youngest of three kids in the alligator infested water. Dad, comes to campsite, " F! honey! F..ing saw a f..ing baby f..ing armadillo. I was f..ing gonna catch it for f..ng dinner but it f...ing got f..ing away. F it was f...ing fat! All in earshot of, I assume, his kids. I am no exaggerating the F word. If this was not a prime example of a redneck, I have not seen, or heard one.