Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lakes Maitland, Nina, and Minnehaha

The male wood ducks are back in large numbers on the Maitland portion of the Winter Park Chain of Lakes. During the summer, I was only seeing a female here and there, few males.

I got a two hour paddle in this morning, Wednesday, September 29, 2010. Saw the first wood ducks shortly after I launched from Fort Maitland Park.
Did the usual paddle towards the canal to Lake Minnehaha.

Into Lake Minnehaha.

A large flock of birds flew east. To high to ID, a few white colored ones, I'm thinking ibis, mixed in with, cormorants and or anhingas is my guess.
Great egret, wood ducks, anhinga, another great egret.

Another wood duck.

Small cypress getting a jump on fall. Yes, colors do change in Florida.

Anhinga and wood duck.

Closer look.

Female anhinga, mallard. Or Florida mottled duck?

Mandatory cover bridge photo.
Lake Nina. Wood duck couple.

Green heron

Back to Lake Maitland, more anhingas.

The elusive belted kingfisher
Blue and tri colored heron, great egret, anhinga, wood ducks.

As usual, the number and variety of birds on these suburban lakes was outstanding.

The lakes were high, a lot of rain fell Tuesday. Cloudy skies, and the possibility of tropical weather. Fortunately, TS Nicole quickly fizzled. Hopefully, there won't be a "P" storm.

No boats on the water, no trailers in the parking lot. Just a lazy ass, illiterate fisherman on the pier. Couldn't walk twenty yards to the parking area. Car parked where I load and unload the yak. On the drive to the launch area, marked by No Parking signs.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Canaveral National Seashore

A four hour paddle on the Mosquito Lagoon today, Sunday, September 26, 2010. A late start, 11:20 am, after a late Saturday night. Despite the hour, no cars were in the Parking Lot 7 at the Canaveral National Seashore. A dolphin swam just off shore as I unloaded.

I did not see the dolphin once I was in the water. I paddled north, and west, exploring the maze of small islands between Orange Island and Shipyard Island.

Snowy egrets. Waiting for leftovers?

I reentered the main channel, across from the boat ramp. Wind at my back, I left the Canaveral National Seashore. Saw the two dolphins in the opening photo as I neared the Slow Speed Zone inside the long island just west of the main barrier island. The view you see from J.B.'s Fish Camp.

My destination was Bethune Park, where I hoped to see manatees. I had not seen any manatees in this part of Mosquito Lagoon since November, 2009. This was my fourth visit since that date.

Manatees were in the cove at the Bethune Park overlook.

A lot of manatees. 15-20. I watched them for twenty five minutes.
I began to paddle back the way I came, into a south wind, towards the Shell Mound.

Saw another dolphin, again where the two channels meet. I landed at the Shell Mound, had a bite and walked to the summit.

The view from the top is spectacular. Even a little better than it used to be. There is a four step high platform, so the the view is from a higher point. Higher than standing on the benches that were at the summit before the new boardwalk was installed a couple years ago.

The view from the boardwalk itself ain't to shabby.

Back into Mosquito Lagoon.

I saw one other paddler. Tandem kayaker. Some motor boats, but not to many.

More dolphins, including an old friend. I first saw the split dorsal fin, above, in May, 2003. Two years before I started kayaking on a weekly basis. " I immedatlely headed to a little pier on the Mosquito lagoon side where I had observed dolphins in the past. Two, three steps on the pier I thought, this is where the dolp- and there they were. Two dolphins. One had a split dorsal."

I passed the launch site, going a little bit further, turning back at the Eldora State House. Where pilings for new pier have been installed.

Earlier, when I passed the fishing dock, I thought it looked different. Now I know why. It has been replaced, using the same pilings as the Eldora dock.

The dock at the Visitors Center is also being renovated. Your fee/tax/stimulas dollars at work. This is priceless. Oncoming dolphin, went under my kayak.

I landed just after 3:30. A couple was preparing to launch for a trip to the Orange Island campsite. They had to move their fully laden rubber raft to let me land. The guy asked if he could help me carry the yak to the car. I accepted. I think they have all the comforts of home.
I then saw something I've never seen in this part of the Mosquito Lagoon.
An alligator. I've seen them south of here, in the Haulover Canal area. Appropriate to see one the same day I saw the dolphin with the split dorsal fin, as it was on the day back in 2003, when I first saw the dolphin, that I coined the term "Florida Trifecta" Seeing three large, air breathing, water dwelling animals on the same day. The alligators that day were on Black Point Wildlife Drive.