They aren’t back in the first mile or so; it’s downright strange to paddle that area and not have it lined with snowy egrets and little blue herons. It’s peaceful and beautiful with the new spring-green leaves coming out on the trees, but seems empty without the birds. I hope they come back to this section soon.
I did see several after about the first mile and a half. I had not even lifted the camera so far on this trip when I happened to look up and see an eagle in a tree.
In a repeat of my experience with wood storks on my recent Wakulla trip, I discovered as I paddled around the bottom of the tree to see if I could get a better photo that there were in fact two bald eagles in that tree. It was not possible to get a good photo that showed both of them clearly so I settled for one in which they are both at least visible through the tree branches. It’s fairly unusual for me to see eagles at all, and seeing two in such proximity is new for me. It was pretty neat.
I got to Cedar Island and decided to get out and stretch my legs. I was debating whether to take the time to circle the island or not. I opted to continue downstream and see how it looked (was it clogged with surface growth, etc.) and then I would decide whether or not to continue or to turn back. I got back in the kayak and started around. Very shortly thereafter I passed a huge alligator on a log over to the left, which slithered silently into the water when it spotted me. I considered that to be a cosmic indication that I should turn around instead of circling the island. I don’t like passing by huge alligators, particularly if I can’t see them. It’s rare to see any gators on this river at all, and when I do see them, they are small ones. On the other hand, the largest alligator bagged during the last alligator hunting season was taken from this river…
Continuing with the trend of birds in trees, this great blue heron flew into the branches of a tree overhead and perched there as I passed below.
There were a few little blue herons in this section of river. This picture resembles one taken recently on the Wakulla, but is far more typical of this river than that one.
There are always cormorants on every body of water I paddle and I rarely point the camera at them. This one sat on this little stump sticking up out of the water as I approached and did not move as I got closer so I obliged and took its picture. They do have vivid blue eyes.
I saw three limpkins on this trip, one of which was of course Bob. He was hunting for snails on a log amongst tree branches along the shoreline and I couldn’t get a photo of him so I just said hello and went on my way. The other two were skittish and flew away before I got near them. They were quite loud, though.
Even without the usual number of birds, this was a fun paddling day. I saw two other paddlers, and a speedboat roared by on the main part of the river while I was in the blue spring area, but otherwise I had it to myself for over four hours. Nice! Hopefully will get out one more time this week. Stand by.