Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rock Springs Run

I was going to go to Blue Springs State Park today, Sunday, December 5, 2010.   Check out the manatees, paddle the Hontoon Loop.  However, when I woke, I looked out the window and saw the palm fronds moving.  Windy.  Not a good day to be on the big water of the St Johns River.  I left home, still intending to go to Blue Spring State Park.  I'd paddle Snake Creek, spend less time on the St. Johns.  That plan changed as I drove.  Very dark skies this morning.  If I was going to get wet, I'd rather do it closer to home.  So, I got off the interstate at the Wekiwa Springs State Park exit.   And the rain came.  Only to stop as I arrived at the Park.

The wet ground did not pose a problem for these turkeys.  I was on my way at 9.
Pie billed grebes

Green Heron

Blue heron
Blue heron
Not a typo.  Immature blue herons are white. I did the usual, down the Wekiva River to Rock Springs Run, than up the Run.

After taking the limpkin photo, a deer tail flashed ahead.  I paddled, saw it again, continued on. Then I saw the buck.

Not one, two bucks.  Perhaps the same pair I've been seeing on and off in the same general area since the summer.  Last time I saw them I thought, wouldn't it be cool to see them lock horns?  They did today. Twice. Briefly, the smaller buck backing off each time.  I had never seen that before.  Unfortunately, I was not able to get a good picture.
Look carefully at the above photo, you should see the interlocked antlers.  The bucks lowered their heads to battle,  putting them under the high grass.

I saw one more deer shortly after the head butting bucks. Just a flash of tail as it ran off.  The object of the bucks affections?  
All three campsites were occupied, but nobody was on the Run.  I paddled more than half way up, about 45 minutes past Big Buck.  This is where I turned back.
Down Run scenics.

Deer weren't the only mammal I saw.  Lots of squirrels, a raccoon and an otter.

It turned out to be a beautiful, but windy, day. In a sign of approachig winter, ther were a lot of robins chirping and flying about.

Back to the Wekiva, a dozen paddlers were on the water.  For a Sunday, that's nothing.

I did not see any alligators, despite sunny skies, temps high 60's. Several tri colored herons in the lagoon as I landed.

Landed at 10 after 2. A five hour paddle.  I had the road bike with me, had planned to ride the paved trail outside Blue Spring State Park.  Instead, I biked the mile and a half or so on the Wekiwa Springs Park road to Sand Lake.  For some reason, as I was coming down a hill, a bit fast, I thought, hitting a deer while biking would not be good.  And there was a deer, on the side of the road.  It stepped back.  I stopped to see if it went to far into the woods for a pic.

Not sure which of the ten deer was the one I saw.

One deer or another would occasionally look at me, then continue to browse. Eventually, a few began to walk away.  I biked away.

For those of you familiar with Wekiwa Springs State Park, the deer were on the right side of the road as you go to Sand Lake, just past the road to the primitive youth camp.  I got off the bike at the Sand Lake parking lot, and walked for an hour on the hiking trail.

Finished the day snorkeling the Spring.   Which I shared with a gentleman doing laps and more minnows than I have ever seen.


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