Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blackwater Creek

A blustery day in metro Orlando, Sunday, December 26, 2010. I returned to the Seminole State Forest to kayak Blackwater Creek.  No bear today. Lots of otters.  My State Forest Permit is good through Friday, so the tree lined Blackwater Creek was a good choice to stay out of 20 mph wind.  I wanted to do a car-bike shuttle from the Forest to Katie's Landing, but did not want to endure a windy bike ride and a windblown paddle on the wider Wekiva.  So, I went down Creek to the Wekiva and back.
I started late, no reason to arrive early as there are no crowds, check that, nobody at all to contend with on the water.  On my way at 9:55.   Saw two does in the forest on my left shortly after launching.  Winter as brought all sorts of small songbirds to Florida.  Plenty of these little pale blue ones.
I did an ID search, not coming up with anything.  Any one have an educated guess?  Also, numerous small birds with yellow breasts.  No pics of those.

 The wind is the edge of a cold front.  It was in the low 50's. Now, as I compose, it is 39 with a forecast low of 27. Yikes. Two weeks ago when it got to the twenties, I was in Sanibel, where it was above freezing. I'll have to tough this one out.  Posting  the vulture working on the dead fish got me rambling about the weather.  Last years long lasting cold snaps led to record fish kills. This winter has started off even colder.

I saw otters Friday, and also last Christmas on Blackwater Creek.  The Florida cold doesn't seem to affect them.

The wind was nasty. A peak gust of 39. Strong and steady all day.  A gust came, I moved to the middle of the Creek.  Not that it would do any good, Blackwater Creek is narrow.  A loud  CRAAACCKK as a dead tree in the forest snapped in half and toppled.  Well inland, fortunately.
I saw two large flocks of turkeys.  The first,  5 or so on the left bank. They scurried away, but I kept hearing gobbling. It took awhile to figure out where it was coming from.  I looked up. Another eight turkeys in the tree overhead.  They took flight, joining their mates across the Creek.  The three above were part of a flock further down Creek.  I first heard them.  A loud racket in the cypress trees.  I thought ibis.  But then I saw the turkeys.  15, at least, several males, tails unfurled, running about. Wish I had a pic of that scene.  The above trio were taken a few minutes later, down Creek of the hubbub.
Reached the Wekiva, above, at 12:05.  Paddled up it a short way to get a photo of a great egret.  It flew away. Back up Blackwater, 30 minutes to my lunch stop.
As mentioned at the start, no bear today.

This is the otter in the opening photo.

Back to the launch site at 2:30.
I kept going, continuing to the Moccasin Springs campsite before turning back.

Landed just past three. Unlike Christmas Eve, when four guys were fishing at the launch, the only angler today was this great blue heron.
Went for a bike ride. This is north of the launch, my way out is south.
I wanted to see if I could find another of the small springs in the Forest, Sharks Tooth Spring.
Found it. Small spring, fifth magnitude, with a tiny spring run.

Listening to the water gurgling from the ground, I thought, wonder if I can get this sound on video?

Not much sound, but motion.

Pedaled 5.6 miles.  Other than a few small birds, no wildlife spotted.  The deer were waiting for me to drive out of the Forest. 

 I was surprised how well the above photo turned out.  My windshield is pretty dirty.  I got out of the car for the other pics.

I wonder if these were the same pair I saw from the kayak at the start of the paddle.

Almost forgot- saw a bald eagle, in flight, on the up- Creek paddle


Joanne said...

That is the cutest otter picture I've seen in a while. Chubby little thing, wasn't he?
What a great weekend you've had while I've been focused on replacing my poor wrecked car. I've had a permit for Sem State Forest that I haven't been able to use. It is good through Friday so I'm hoping to get up there a couple of times.

Joanne said...

I was checking to see how recently you had paddled the full length of the creek...the little birds you were asking about are Blue-gray Gnat Catchers.

Dave said...

Thank you, Joanne. Too bad you weren't able to paddle the full length the other day due to fallen trees.