Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Myakka River

Saturday, October 2, 2010, I visited Myakka River State Park for the first time since April. As usual, a wide variety, and large number of birds. That's why I picked the above photo, with wood stork, snowy egret, and great egret, for the opener. The Myakka is high, so I did not see as many alligators as usual. "Only" 15 or so. During nearly 8 hours on the River, with a break for lunch.

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.

More ibis.
Snowy egret and another juvi tri colored heron. Lots of snowies today, too.

Great blue heron

Great blue heron.

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.

Snowy egret.

Adult black crowned night heron. Hiding its crown.
Blue heron.

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

Cormorants (orange beak)and anhinga

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

I continued to paddle south of Deep Hole, but not for long. The wind, at my back was pretty strong, so I decided I did not want to paddle into it any longer than I had to. So, I came about

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.

Tri colored heron, green herons, tri colored heron and tri colored heron, more green herons. The second green pair were up a dead end channel. A channel that, a couple winters ago, I saw the largest flock of wood storks I have ever seen. New growth blocks access to that area.

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.

Good thing I made that wrong turn, and yaked all the way to the Upper Lake. Or else I would not have seen the rosette spoonbills, or the limpkin, or the wood stork.

Always nice to get an inflight photo.

I took, and posted a pic of this tree on the way up River. Did it again to remind myself of the picnic table. This could be a good rest/turn around spot.

Anhinga climbing a palm. No one climbing the high tower at the canopy walkway.

I landed at 4:30.
Got to the concession before it closed at 5 for a cup of gator stew.

This was my first visit to Myakka River State Park since getting the off-road bike.

I didn't go far, just 3.3 miles. Enough to get my feet wet. No wildlife, just two hikers and a dog.

Back in the car, to the Canopy Walkway. On the way, a kid on a bike, pointing into the woods. "Deer or pig?" "Deer" I saw it. A buck. No pic.

This has to be the part of the River from where I took the picture of the tower as I paddled.
Power lines, and further off, Upper Lake Myakka. No wonder I was out almost eight hours.

I think this huge, multi trunk live oak is why the walkway is where it is.

A pair of raccoons as I headed to the Ranger Station to turn in my Wilderness Permit. They like to know people made it back.


The Florida Blogger said...

That's gotta be tough working all week after suffering that loss to the lowly Bears. Look on the bright side. Kayaking weather is back in full effect and the Pack shouldn't lose another game for some time.

Dave said...

TFB, I had forgotten about that loss. As a southerner, you may not understand that any day the water is not frozen, is kayaking weather.

Joanne said...

I haven't been to Myakka in several years, and this really makes me want to get back down there. Their campgrounds are not appealing, but I've enjoyed staying in their cabins in the past--built by the CCC in the '30s, nicely situated. They were cheap, too, but probably not anymore.

Dave said...

The cabins are $70.00. Still cheap, if you ask me. I agree about the campground, at least the one near the concession. Sites are cheek to jowl. Haven't seen the other campground

Gordon said...

Dave..really enjoy checking out your pictures of all of your adventures...your camera seems to do a pretty good job...my digital took a plunge in Mosiquito Lagoon the other day, and did not survive the swim..It's time to spring for a new one...What camera do you use and what do you think of it...Thanks

Dave said...

Gordon, its a Canon Powershot SD1100. With a water tight case. It suits my purposes. I know next to nothing about photography and cameras. Friends who were tired of just reading about my adventures bought me an SD400. With a warranty, which came in handy as that broke, don't recall how, and it was replaced by an SD450. I dropped that one, post-warranty and bought a SD600. That one's view screen conked out. Still takes pics, but I did not see what I was shooting. Replaced that with the current SD1100. A few months ago, the lens stuck. I had bought a two year warranty, and it was repaired. An web search after that problem shows the lens getting stuck is a common problem.