Friday, February 24, 2006

Wacissa River

Another spur-of-the-moment trip, brought on by sudden good weather. I got there around 1:45. A few other cars in the lot, some with trailers, some without.

Shortly after leaving the boat ramp, I came to a small blue heron and what appeared to be an immature small blue heron—or it could have been an egret. I have not yet perfected telling the difference. The blue heron was fishing in the greenery along the shoreline.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Just a bit farther on was the beautiful white bird (of whichever species...). I had the photo ready to take, the whole bird from head to foot...focused...and the bird dipped down a bit, preparing to fly off. Kind of off-set the picture, but I include it anyway because I think it still shows this wonderful bird off.

Image hosting by Photobucket

It was a wonderful day to be on the river. A little wind now and then—and interestingly it shifted from blowing downstream to upstream—but otherwise almost perfect. I decided to paddle down the Blue Springs inlet. It occurred to me that it had been months since I posted the obligatory Blue Springs inlet photo, and it was looking good today. Very green and peaceful.

Image hosting by Photobucket

I drifted downstream quite a distance. I love this next picture. Let me set the scene. This was on the left bank, and, from the perspective of the picture, I was drifting from left to right. The paddle was resting on the coaming of the cockpit, so I was in stealth mode, very quiet. If this was a young blue heron, perhaps it was not familiar with paddlers. It stuck its head and neck straight up when it first spotted me. And then it proceeded to lean over, following my progression past it. I pretty much had to laugh out loud after taking this picture.

Image hosting by Photobucket

I paddled nearly down to Cedar Island, but decided that if the wind was against me coming back, it could slow down my return, and so I decided to turn around. But just before doing that, I came to a brand new bird! Well, at least a brand new version of a bird. I have looked this up in several books and the bit of white you can see on its flank seems to designate it as a young moorhen. But the colors are not quite right (according to my book). It’s definitely a rail of some sort, probably a juvenile—but I don’t know what type. At any rate, here it is.

Image hosting by Photobucket

About halfway back to the ramp I passed a young ibis. Almost got a picture of it but it flew to a vegetation island nearby. I paddled on over there, and was able to get it this time. I love these ibises—very neat birds.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Lots of great egrets flew by as I continued upstream, several cormorants, and of course coots and moorhens were everywhere. I passed a young man who was fishing shirtless in a canoe and took his picture. While I was busy framing it, I did not notice that he turned to look at me, and so ended up with a picture where he would be identifiable to anybody who knew him. It was Friday afternoon, maybe he wasn’t supposed to be there, maybe he’s in the witness protection program…so I decided not to include it here. Interestingly, he apparently saw me taking his picture and yet just greeted me with a friendly “hello” as I passed (so he’s probably not a fugitive).

A little beyond that a red-shouldered hawk perched on a nearby tree—not my usual shorebird but quite an impressive predator.

Image hosting by Photobucket

I was out only three hours. I look forward to being able to get on the river earlier and stay longer. Nonetheless, this was a super paddling day.

Stand by for the next report.

1 comment:

Scott Thigpen said...

Awesome shots, I must buy the camera you use!

By the way, guess who is looking at buying 3 acres on the Sopchoppy? :) That river is on the Florida Canoe trail, you know :)