Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hot Day On The Wacissa

I decided to head to the Wacissa today--I wanted to get back to the Wakulla but the tide would have been all the way out when I got there, which makes for very mucky, muddy launching, so I changed plans.

When I launched a little before noon, there were a few cars in the lot, and one family had set up by the springs, the parents on lawn chairs and the child playing in the water. I encountered very few boats during the three hours I was out.

This great blue heron just stood on the shoreline and watched me pass by.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

There was very little current near the top of the river today. I decided to go into the Blue Spring channel. I came to this ibis eating alongside the bank:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I heard voices coming from the actual spring area so I didn’t go quite that far before turning around and going back to the main part of the river.

It was extremely hot today; the kind of day where just sitting still in the kayak and drifting downstream can make you sweat profusely. There was no wind. I was trying to decide whether to go all the way to Cedar Island or not when I came to this group—a little blue heron with turtles. Notice the turtle head sticking up out of the water on the right!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

There is this type of bird that I have been encountering on several different rivers lately. I have been assuming that they are immature little blue herons, getting their adult color and switching from white to the blue-ish color of adults. But now I’m not so sure. For one thing, the new color is more gray and black. Also, it is in a very distinct pattern on the wings, rather than the sort of random bits that seem to accompany a maturation change in color. Still, can’t find this bird in any book so I have no idea what it is. It’s got to be in the heron or egret family…I think. Here’s one I saw today near Blue Spring:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And here is one that I spotted later:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

That coloring seems mottled on their back, but the color on the wings—which is really vivid when viewed while they are flying—looks permanent to me. At any rate, these are really attractive birds.

So how cute is this? I was paddling back upstream (having not gone as far as the island—I was concerned about fighting the increasing current (it gets stronger as you go downstream) in the increasing heat of the day to get myself back to the boat ramp) and I spotted this mother moorhen (ok, I’m guessing at the gender, but let’s go with it) with a baby:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

When I first took the pictures out of the camera to look at them, I couldn’t figure out why the baby looked so fuzzy. Oh—because it is fuzzy! And something is very odd about its eyes. Here’s another picture of them--

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And then while I was sitting there watching them, here comes Dad moorhen!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And off they went.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And off I went as well, back to the boat ramp. I passed these female wood ducks (no males in sight, alas), who watched me go by somewhat warily.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Well, the boat ramp area was jumping when I got back—lots of people and two dogs running around having a great time (the dogs were running around, not the people). Several kids (and a few adults) were lined up at the little diving board over a spring area that is separate from the boat ramp area, so I had to take the camera over there. I didn’t expect this girl to jump up quite so much when she left the board…she practically jumped out of the picture frame...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This one thought it would be fun to enter the water in a crossed-leg sitting pose. His face seems to convey possible concern that this might not have been such a great idea after all...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And this boy nailed his landing in a very straightforward way, nose firmly held.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It was a good, if really hot, day on the river. My husband is on vacation next week and we have several activities planned, which may not include paddling. In any event, stand by for when I do get back out.

2 comments:

clairesgarden said...

lovely pictures, that chick is so cute. do you not get worried about the alligators? are they likely to eat swimmers?

Peggy said...

No, the gators can usually be counted on to leave paddlers alone. The only risk is if one intruded during mating season...

I do, however, give the larger ones a really large berth...

P.