Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hillsborough River

Kayaked the Hillsborogh River today, Sunday, November 7, 2010.  Home to many alligators and numerous birds. So, both are in the opening photo. With a turtle.

The time change was welcome, I could have slept longer, but knew I had to get going if I wanted to finish before dark.  So, I was out of bed a little after 8, in the kayak on the Hillsborough River at Trout Creek Park at 10:20.

The above photos (excluding the opening picture) were taken in a ten minute span But they are not what had me say, "This is going to be a two battery day"

These are.

Rosette spoonbills.

It was another cool November day, so not as many alligators as usual on the Hillsborough River.  The one above is the first of a dozen I saw.   Got photos of most of them.
Belted kingfisher

Thirty minutes into the up River paddle, across from Nature's Classroom, more spoonbills. 

This tree with the woodstork, ibis, spoonbills and anhinga, will have different occupants in the afternoon.
The first part of the paddle was in fairly open water.  A broad, shallow channel.  It narrows, and the trees close in.  A good thing, as like Saturday, it was windy on Sunday.

The first two pics below are the same alligator, the third, five minutes up River.

Just four boats in the four miles to Morris Bridge Park, which I paddled past at noon.

Not many people coming down river from Sargent Park.

One canoing couple wondered where the alligators were.  I told them I saw five, and took their comment as a challenge to find more.  A few minutes later, I saw the entourage in the opening photo.  A few more views.

Three alligators, a turtle, and a great egret.

More herons and egrets

Black crowned night heron

Tri colored heron
 I've never noticed this foundation before.  Likely a pre-1960 house.  After Hurricane Donna, in 1960, the area that is now Wilderness Park was purchased for flood control.  If high water comes, a lock on the River will close, backing up the River, flooding the park, sparing downtown Tampa.

 I get more two species on one branch pics on the Hillsborough than any place I know.

I arrived at Sargent Park around 1:30 and took a twenty minute lunch break.  The last Canoe Escape bus usually arrives at 2, I was back in the river at ten to two.

On parts of the River, I was never out of site of some wildlife.

So many birds, no need to post a scenic river view just to fill Tale space.

Its a good birding day when I get two belted king fishers.

I think it was taking the pic of this gator when the battery died. First battery. I had a spare in the pocket of my PFD.

Like all Florida Rivers this fall, the Hillsborough is running clear and low these days.  And fast, but this pic is an exaggeration.
 Just three or four boats between Sargent Park and Morris Bridge.  I passed the latter at 3:30.

Do you remember, near the beginning of this Tale, the dead tree with a spoonbill, rosette spoonbill, ibis, and anhinga?  Here it is again, with a different cast of characters.

In the morning,  the vultures were in lower branches, and on the ground.  It was windy, I wonder if they don't like wind, or their talons don't grip as well as other birds.  I usually don't take vulture photos, as they are omnipresent, and not very attractive.  But, this scene called for a photo.

The three spoonbills I saw to start the day were in the same area they had been in the morning,

The spoonies and there friends were on the back side of an island just down River of Trout Creek.  The back side was impassable, so I paddled around it in the main channel.

I came around the island, and paddled up the back side for a another, closer view of the spoonbills and their avian amigos.

I know this is a lot of photos, but you have it easy.  I downloaded 203 photos. That was after plugging the camera into the TV and deleting the pics that did not turn out.  Don't know how many I'll end up posting. If you want to count and tell me, go ahead!

I saw no people between Morris Bridge Park and Trout Creek Park,  A family was fishing from the shore as I landed shortly after 5 pm.   A fantastic day. 17 miles, 7 hours. And, the Packers having the Sunday night game, so home in plenty of time to see them blow out the Cowboys.


Dark Knight said...

More to come? Awesome!!! Waiting for it.

Dark Knight said...

This may be our choice this weekend. My wife is so impressed with this tale that wants to paddle the Hillsborough River pronto.

Dave said...

Make sure your camera battries-as in more than one- are fully charged.