I got in the water at 8:50. Launching from the pull over at the Park road bridge. Here is a map to so you can have an idea of where I was. http://www.myakkariver.org/hike_bike.pdf I began paddling south, towards State Highway 72. First pic, alligator. Appropriate for the Myakka River.
Juvenile tri colored heron. When it matures, the red-brown will turn blue. There were a lot of tri colored herons on the Myakka today.
Ibis and glossy ibis.
Female anhinga. Difference from the male is the white neck.
Under the State Highway 72 bridge and into the Myakka River Wilderness Preserve. I had a permit. Yet another juvi tri colored heron.
Another youth. Black crowned night heron behind the ibis on the left.
It flew away, and I was was able to get a better view after it landed.
Adult black crowned night heron. Hiding its crown.
I had the River almost all to myself. After about and hour, I heard voices behind me. Entering Lower Myakka Lake about 10:05, I paddled up a narrow, usually too shallow to paddle, arm of Lower Lake Myakka at the northeast corner of the Lake. I saw there paddlers come out of the River, never saw them again. They must have turned around. Or maybe they saw these guys and got scared.
The adults were on shore of the channel. Black crowned night heron.
Tri colored heron Osprey
The same gators as earlier, I now has headed into the open part of Lower Myakka Lake.
As previously noted, the Myakka is high. I was able to paddle much closer to the western shore of the Lower Lake than usual. Red shoulder hawk.
I paddled inside a vast mat of water hyacinth.
To Deep Hole, where, when the Myakka is low, you could walk across the water on the backs of alligators. They congregate here. As it is, deep, when the rest of the River is low. Today, I saw three gators
Despite the wind, I took the direct route across the Lake, instead of hugging the shore as I did on the way to Deep Hole. Outside the mats of hydrilla. Looks pretty, with the purple flowers, but left unchecked, it can choke the entire Lake. I have never seen it so thick on Lower Myakka Lake.
The gator guarded the entrance to the Myakka River.
I departed the Wilderness Preserve at 12:30.
On my way down River, I noticed a pavallion. Just inside the Park. If unoccupied, it looked like a good spot to stop for lunch. Other than a spider, it was unoccupied.
This area is just down river of another picnic area where I have stopped before. Besides the massive shelter, it has restrooms, a playground, and some open air picnic tables and grills. The parking lot is not to far from the River, and a concrete sidewalk leads to the shelter. An aloternate launch site. If its good enough for the State when doing their monthly survey of the River, http://www.myakkariver.org/River%20Reports.html its good enough for me.
I told you there were a lot of tri colored herons and snowy egrets. The heron above got tired of sharing the limelight and took flight.
It was 1:30 when I returned to the Park road bridge. Where I began at 8:50. Told myself I'd keep going another hour.
When I got to the power lines crossing the River in 45 minutes, I changed plans to paddle to Upper Myakka Lake. The power lines are about half way from the Park road bridge to the dam at the bottom of Upper Myakka. With the River high, I wanted to see it I could float over the dam. Speaking of floating. An object in the water. I picked it up. Capri Sun. Then a beer bottle, out of reach. Followed by a full water bottle. Got it. Then a family in a canoe. "Did you see some stuff floating down River? We tipped" "Capri Sun, beer, and water?" "Yes" I handed the water to one of two boys in the middle, and dad said, "Keeping the beer?" Told him I couldn't reach it. These were the first people I saw on the water since the trio at the entrance to Lower Myakka Lake.Two wrongs may not make a right, but on the Myakka River a wrong turn led to two rosette spoonbills. I came to a fork, and took the channel that dead ended. Into the spoonbills. And, keeping with one of the day's themes, snowy egrets.
I p the turned around, the tipsy family was coming up the channel. I told them it was a good spot to see spoonbills, not good if the wanted to get back to the rental launch. As they saw me head up the other channel they asked "Is this the right way" "I don't know" I figured it was, but one never knows. It was correct.
The dam, above, was underwater. Just barely, the yak grounded on the concrete barrier. So, I landed, on the River side of the dam. Had to change batteries to take the photo, the first ran out. A kayaking couple came from the Upper Lake, landed, and portaged. They had come up from the Park road bridge as well. Mentioned a couple dead ends they took. I asked if they saw the spoonbills. They had.