Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Birds Are Shy On Lake Munson!

I had forgotten about this lake until I read a post by my friend and fellow blogger, pineyflatwoodsgirl, about a paddling trip she made recently to Lake Munson. I have only been here once before, last fall, and it’s a perfect spot to paddle the new Stealth, so I headed out there.

I launched from the boat ramp at the park this time. I was the only car in the lot, and in fact I did not see any other boats on the lake from the time I launched at 12:30 until I loaded up and left at 3:00. This is such a nice lake to paddle; sure, it’s hot out, but it’s going to be hot out for another three months or so, might as well get used to it. If you are in the area, try this lake.

I was so pleased yesterday to see the one water lily on Lake Blackshear. Lake Munson has many large patches of the same lilies.

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I couldn’t resist taking another picture of one, even though it’s very similar to the picture in the previous post. These are very large flowers.

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There are so many birds flying around this lake! But it’s another sign of how few boaters frequent it that the birds are so afraid and keep their distance. Even the normally complacent and somewhat oblivious cormorants were leaping from their perches at the first sight of me.
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There are several wood duck houses set up around the lake, and I did see some wood ducks, but again, only as they were flying away in sheer terror at my approach.

This osprey, however, was apparently too busy yelling at his/her mate to worry about me. This bird was making a lot of noise, directed at the one in the nest.
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This lake has an interesting and varying shoreline. It starts out (I went left from the boat ramp) and continues for some distance with several layers of cypress trees. However, I pulled into an inlet roughly halfway around the lake from the boat ramp, and the shoreline changed dramatically. In this area there were no cypress at all, just a woodsy shoreline, with a small sandy beach on one side. I got out to walk around, and decided it was a good spot for a panoramic picture.
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And no, the color chip in the camera hasn’t gone wonky—the water really is that odd green color. It’s also lukewarm. So I gather that must be caused by algae that is perhaps suspended in the water; there was none floating on the surface. I don’t recall it being this color last fall when it was cooler.

I saw this laughing gull (that's what it's called; it wasn't actually laughing, at least not audibly) (thanks, Kim, for the ID) sitting on a stump that was sticking up out of the water. I took several pictures of it and then left it in peace.
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So I was paddling in this little inlet and I noticed an alligator was swimming parallel with me, one layer of cypress trees closer to the shoreline. It was keeping pace with me, but at a more or less comfortable distance. I decided to take a picture of my little companion. I turned the camera on and zoomed in, but I couldn’t locate the horizontal figure of the gator in the viewfinder.

Oh. I see why. Because it has stopped and turned to face me and is staring at me. Heh heh.
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Time to be moving on. I did not linger in that inlet very long.

This was a great paddling day—I need to get back here more. The Stealth did a good job again, it tracks extremely well even in wind, and I continue to be amazed at how comfy the seat is. This is the third day in a row that I have paddled this boat. I guess it’s an official member of the fleet, such as it is.

I hope to get back to the Wakulla again this week; I think I do prefer the more laid-back attitude of the birds there. Stand by.

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