Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Windy Day on the Wacissa River (after a windy day on the St. Marks River)

Yesterday I spent four hours on the St. Marks River, with the intention of finding out how long it takes to paddle from the boat ramp at Newport to the Gulf. The wind was blowing strongly upstream (prediction was for 5-10 mph; I had hoped for 5; no such luck) and the tide was coming in. After two hours of valiantly fighting wind and current, I reached the vicinity of where the St. Marks joins the Wakulla, which is still some distance from the Gulf. Enough is enough; I turned around. It's a beautiful river (although curiously devoid of wildlife, at least yesterday) and perhaps I will attempt this again on a calm day. There are no visible houses on the shorelines, only docks. And big, big sailboats at those docks. Really big.

And so I decided to head to the Wacissa today. I encountered that same wind from the south, but it didn't impede my downstream progress since the current (not affected by tide) compensated for it. And of course there was the fun of it blowing me back upstream.

I went into Blue Spring inlet, as always. My raccoon buddy must have been elsewhere, but the little blue heron was back.

They are so cute, and so tolerant of being observed. It was very busy seeking a meal.

I circled the spring area and headed back out to the river. I heard the sound of wood ducks approaching and landing in the inlet. They are always my primary (with luck) photo subjects. I typically concentrate on close-up photos of them and reject any that are taken at a distance. As I watched this pair cross the little inlet, it occurred to me that they would also be nice as just part of a scenic photo, so I include this one taken at some distance from them.

As I was leaving the inlet, a red-shouldered hawk (Florida type) landed on a tree branch over the water.

I drifted downstream, occasionally paddling against the wind, to the dirt road boat ramp (the one across from the life-size Frosty the Snowman balloon suspended from a tree branch, perhaps you are familiar with it), where I got out to stretch my legs. And then I had a wonderful drift upstream with the wind pushing me all the way. I passed a couple in a canoe, and there were a few fishing boats on the river, but otherwise I had it to myself.

The pickerel rushes are in bloom.

I need to get to the Wakulla soon, as these flowers usually put on quite a show along the shoreline there.

It was a super day, I was on the water for five hours. The birds seem to be returning; I saw several snowy egrets. The limpkins are still here, as are the coots.

I want to thank the writer of the Pure Florida blog for his flattering remarks about this website and his link. Back at ya! Check it out for some fine photos.

I have plans to return to this river very soon. Stand by.


John Cowart said...

Hi Peggie,

Just visiting via the link from Pure Florida. I'm glad I followed his advice. You make the world seem even more beautiful.

Last November my wife and I stayed over at Port St. Joe State Park and saw a few of the birds you caught on film. The close-ups you show are delightful.


robin andrea said...

I've also arrived via the link over at Pure Florida. Your photography is beautiful. Love the pic of the red-shouldered hawk. I haven't seen one here in the PNW, but have read that they are here (somewhere!). I've never see a little blue heron, and wow, what a bird!

Floridacracker said...

Thank you and you're welcome :)
I don't own a kayak, (two canoes and a skiff) but I've been looking for one that would double for fishing and photography.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Another majestic report, Ms. Paddles. Congratulations.

LauraHinNJ said...

Here from Pure Florida also - your photos are gorgeous - and that little blue - wow!