The egrets and herons have their breeding plumage now, which is so impressive! This egret’s feathers were blowing in the breeze as I approached.
The raised topknot, however, is not special plumage…I don’t think it was pleased to have me approaching. As I got closer, it turned to face me. Maybe it sees better out of its right eye.
I encountered 3 other paddlers on the water today, so it was very quiet (no motor traffic). An otter swam next to me for awhile, checking every few seconds to be sure I was keeping a proper distance.
There were far fewer birds than normal on the river today (pretty sure I saw Bob, though), so while I was out four hours, I didn’t get many photos. This is the third time I have seen this bird, some sort of night heron, in precisely the same spot, on the same branch over the water.
It just sat there watching me so I took a second picture before leaving it alone.
Great blue herons are usually territorial and prefer their own company to that of other great blue herons. I saw two in close proximity today and that plus the presence of breeding plumage seems to indicate that maybe there will be more great blue herons on this river soon. This is one of them—the chest feathers were getting ruffled in the wind.
I paddled down the channel that goes north of the boat ramp. It was much wider and far more passable than last time I was there—in fact, it was about like the Blue Spring channel, only longer. Nice little side trip. There are houses along this route, but not many. If you will be paddling this river any time soon (before the underwater vegetation takes this channel over again), when you leave the boat ramp go straight across the river and then turn right. It’s worth it. There is a small spring on the right side after you enter the channel; right now there is a wooden raft near it.
Camping/paddling trip coming up. Stand by.