Saturday, March 24, 2007
A Perfect Wacissa Day
I met Abby at the boat ramp at about 12:15 on this warm spring day (when I complain later about summer heat or endless days of rain, someone needs to remind me that in March we had a long string of perfect paddling days!). I announced as we set off down the river that since this was my third paddling trip of the week and I had gotten some photos I was very pleased with on the previous trips, I did not plan to seek out photos on this trip, I was going to just enjoy the water and the weather.
We went into Blue Spring and then on the narrow channel behind it that leads back to the river. Much to my delight, a raccoon (on my A-list of subjects while paddling) was puttering about in the water near the edge.
We were both parked there, camera shutters clicking away, but it chose to mostly ignore us.
Once back on the main river, we spotted some turtles sunning on a log.
The shorelines are greening up now. The river looks great.
We passed several limpkins (at some distance) on the drift downstream, and then we came to one that I think was Bob. Abby wasn’t so certain, since it was making noise while we were nearby, and it’s true Bob is historically mostly silent. However, very few let you get as close as we were, so I am still convinced this was Bob. Maybe he was just fussing because there were two of us so nearby.
We paddled to Cedar Island and got out to stretch our legs, and then circled it and headed back upstream. We heard several alligators in that section—this is their courtship time, which leads to the upcoming mating season. Abby does an excellent alligator call, which I wish she would not do when I’m with her (just kidding!). On the way back I was amazed and thrilled to once again see two eagles in a tree, only this time it was an adult and a juvenile.
This was in the area of the previous photo of two adults together in a tree. Must be a family. The young one flew off as I drifted closer to the tree, but the adult let me take another picture of it (on this trip when I wasn’t going to take any photos)
The strangest thing happened as we were approaching Blue Spring on our way back upstream. I became aware of a whooshing sound, somewhat like a large, low kite sounds in the wind, and looked up to see that a sizeable wood stork was gliding very closely overhead, literally buzzing us. It circled us twice while we gawked up at it open-mouthed. We then recovered from our surprise and grabbed our cameras as it swooped over toward the shoreline.
It sat there watching us. So we paddled over to it to get more photos.
Neither of us has ever seen a wood stork on this river, and we have certainly never had one circle so closely overhead. I was so glad not to have experienced that alone—there’s no way to adequately describe it so it’s nice to have shared that with someone.
We went back on the channel to the spring and then out its main entrance. This little blue heron watched us approach
and then went back to fishing from its perch.
We saw many, many wood ducks but were never close enough to get a photo of any, not even the less-shy females. Maybe eventually they will become less timid, as they were last year. Regardless, this was one of the best days I have ever had on this river.
If this weather continues I will be back out paddling next week. Stand by.