Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Alexander Creek

It had been a while, May 16, 2010, since I kayaked Alexander Creek.  Also some time since I saw as adult bald eagle.  Saw a juvenile on the Weeki Wachee on September 18.  The search function isn't going back far enough to let me know when I last spotted an adult.  So after work today, Saturday, October 16, 2010, I was able to kill two birds with one stone.  Figuratively speaking, of course.

A bald eagle was in the "bald eagle tree" when I arrived at the Lake County 445 bridge.  Took a photo from land in case I did not get another chance.
I was able to paddle to the eagle for a closer look.  It may have stayed perched longer, but put up with a crying kid who's parents stopped their canoe almost under the bald eagle tree for only so long and flew off.
The Creek was crowded.  Not Wekiva River crowded, but maybe 10-15 canoes and kayaks on the short paddle to the Alexander Springs Recreation Area.  Not much visible wildlife, anhingas, a blue heron, and turtles.
I had to go underwater for wildlife.

The Spring was full of scuba divers, so I snorkeled away from the crowd.   As you can see, the algae dominates the Creek bed.

After the swim, I went back to the canoe/kayak launch to put my shoes on.  Where a park worker asked me if I had paid.  "If you have fifty cents, I have six bucks"   He told me to go to the concession.  I did.  After that, a walk on the Timucuan Trail.
The 1.1 mile trail is a boardwalk along Alexander Creek.  Not exactly "along" it is set back in the woods.  Two spurs lead to Creek overlooks.  At the second, a guy said  otters had been out, until noisy canoers scared them off.  I'd seen otters here before, and had looked for them as I kayaked by earlier.  I waited a few moments, and an otter popped up, across the Creek from the overlook.   From the second overlook, you can either go back on the boardwalk, or take a loop trail back to the Spring.  I choose the latter.  Took my time, so not to catch some folks in front of me.  I'd like to find where the stream comes from.  The views are both from the main boardwalk and a short bridge on the trail portion.

Back in the yak.
Blue heron
As it was later in the afternoon,  less traffic on the Creek.  Rental canoes have to be returned.  I saw a group of three canoes.  And tow ladies hand paddling back to the Spring from the second overlook.   I told them I hoped the otter's teeth weren't to sharp. Not to mention alligators.  Speaking of otters, I saw none across from the overlook.  But, down creek, several were in the water, and moving through the shoreline plants.

Another beautiful day, as I let the 70-80 million gallons discharged daily from Alexander Spring take me down the Creek.
Eastern phoebe
I got to the bridge, and told myself I'd go 15 minutes past it,or until I saw an alligator.

Fifteen minutes came and went.  So, I told myself, I'll paddle to that tree, and that one, and.... finally, I heard something moving through the shoreline vegetation. And it wasn't an otter.  The pics don't do justice to this big gator.
The gator was just up stream of a small island.  I circled the island, and headed back to the bridge.

Where motors are verboten from the bridge to the Spring.

I went under, and beyond the bridge, to see if the eagle was back.
It was. Until it took flight.  Then, I saw an eagle on a live tree, back from the Creek, so a bit harder to see.

Not one, but two eagles.  I'm not sure if single eagle is part of this pair.  If it is, it did a very quick and stealthily dive and landing after alighting from the dead tree.

I'm spoiled.  I had seen a bald eagle, otters, and a big gator.  Not to mention snorkeling in clear spring water.  Yet, I was thinking, I want to see something "really cool".  The eagle pair qualifies.

I landed about 6:30.  Speaking of really cool, I saw a bear as I drove home.  Less than 5 miles from the bridge.   Did a U-turn on 445, just before US 19, pulled off to the side of the road, and followed the bear, on foot, on the sand road.


Joanne said...

Wow, what a day! Otters, eagles, gators and a bear. And it was a gorgeous day, too.

Dark Knight said...

Super!!!!!!! You had a better day than I did. My paddle at Wekiva River/Rock Springs Run was much less than stellar. Let me say that the highlight of my day was an eagle I saw flying over SR 520 while driving back home from Stuart. Wekiva was packed and noisy. Guess that the headache I had did not help me. Your paddle was excellent...it is cool to see otters.

Danny said...