Dave's Yak Tales

Cedar Key Sunset

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lakes Maitland, Nina, and Minnehaha

Another Wedenesday morning paddle on the Maitland portion of the Winter Park Chains.  I'm sleeping to late to wake up to get to Wekiwa Springs State Park.  Where I have not been all month. That could be a record.  Was thinking of going Friday, after work.  But a nasty storm blew threw this afternoon.  Lots of branches, and a tree, on the drive home from work.  I have a feeling Rock Springs Run could be full of debris.

It was overcast, and breezy at 9:00 am when I shoved off at Fort Maitland Park.

I came to the end of the narrow bay that extends east from the Park, and found a vast collection of cormorants, great egrets and great blue herons.

Maybe they all wanted to see the above fish.

Or, they enjoyed the lack of construction.  A house on the point is being remodeled.  Must be almost done, no work going on, but the Port-o-Let is still there.  I like what they are doing, new windows, inuslation, new siding-keeping the wood house looking the same.  Unlike across the bay where a concrete monstrosity is going up where the Jetson house used to be.

Another sucessful angler. Belted kingfisher on Lake Nina.

In Lake Minehaha.

Saw an otter, briefly.  Quickly ran into the Lake from a lawn.  I waited for it to surface, it outlasted me, or was quiet in the reeds.

A good morning for wood duck photos. On wild rivers, they fly away in a heartbeat. On the suburban lakes, even I can get photos.

I saw one boat.

The mass collection of birds was gone.  Earlier, I wondered why no woodstorks. Looks like it arrived late to the party.

This may be the same anhinga I saw on the way out. Third photo. Landed at 10:40.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lake Norris and Blackwater Creek

Lake Norris is known for the nesting ospreys in the cypress trees that circle the lake.  You will see many of them in this Tale.  But, when I have 8 great egrets and 5 nests in one photo, that gets first photo honors.

After a ten hour day, plus travel, in St. Augustine, I needed a short, scenic paddle Sunday, March 27, 2011.  I had not been to Lake Norris for a while.  Over a year.  Like last year, I launched at 10.  Unlike last year, there were other cars, and Blackwater Creek was low.

 Four kaykers came up the Creek. "It's so low!" one exclaimed. It wasn't that bad. Another warned me of a large log ahead. I was able to push my way over. More problematic were smaller snags, unseen in the dark water. I had a couple uh-oh moments. As in the kayak stopping suddenly, wobbling back and forth on a branch just below the surface. But, I made it to Lake Norris.

Home to cypress trees.

And the osprey that make the trees, home.

I asked to guys fishing if the osprey were leaving anything for them. "They're doing better than we are"

 Turtle and vultures to break the osprey trend.. Saw a blue heron, but it kept flying away.

I think the great egret colony is larger than it was last year.

They were on about 8 trees.

I turned around at 11:40, same place I did last time, the reedy spot.  Not even a quarter of the way around the Lake.

Sounds, and sights, watch the nest, of Lake Norris.

Back to the egrets.

A song just popped in my head.  Fortunately, these white birds are not in a cage. But, it was a A Beautiful Day

Of all the nests, I only saw two ospreys in the same nest once. I took pics, but one must have ducked.  Usually one, the female, I assume is in the nest, while the mate watches from nearby.

Back to Blackwater Creek.

Paddled past the put in.

I consider the above sign a challenge.

"This time we really mean it"  I kept going.
Turned around here.  I could have powered over the log, but this was  short paddle, and I was taking on water.  Probably lost the duct tape going over other logs.  Today, Monday, it rained all day.  The log could be underwater. On the other hand, I might not fit under a branch I squeezed through.

Landed at 1:25, a 3.5 hour paddle.  Got the yak on the car, had some cold chicken at the picnic table, and went for a short bike ride.

Just over 4 miles. Soft sand in spots, but I was able to pedal through.

Left about 3.  That's my short day. 5 hours at the Lake Norris Conservation Area.