Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Short Day on the Wacissa

Everyone must believe in something. I believe I’ll go canoeing.
Henry David Thoreau

This was a shorter trip than usual. Added to the windy conditions was the fact that the water level was definitely lower than usual. It’s my guess that when the water table is reduced, as it must be due to our longstanding drought, the spring simply puts out less water, reducing the river level. That’s my explanation and I’m sticking to it. The result was that there were many more underwater obstacles than normal since they are usually at least a couple of inches farther below the surface. I kept encountering situations where the wind would push me sideways into a rock or a log that was just breaking the surface—this is not a good thing in a kayak.

It was still a good day.

I passed this mother wood duck and her babies shortly after leaving the boat ramp.
We will be seeing them again later.

The wind started out blowing upstream, which is ideal on this river (later it became variable in direction…not so ideal). It was an easy drift downstream, with the current just compensating for the wind. I was very surprised by how accommodating these two wood ducks were as I approached.
I took several photos of them as I drifted closer and closer. I finally decided not to push my luck and also to demonstrate the harmlessness of (most) paddlers, so I very slowly started to paddle away from them downstream. When I got about 12 feet farther from them…they flew off. Go figure.

Shortly after I turned around and began the paddle back to the ramp (aided considerably by the wind at times), I came to three little purple gallinule chicks standing around on the edge.
I pulled over to watch them, parking in the lily pads. This turned out to be the high point of the day. There were more than just those three chicks.
Hey you guys, wait for me!
Who are you?
I wonder if these things work?

(They didn’t, and even when this baby is all grown up, they still won’t work all that well, these birds run better than they fly…)

Finally Mom came over (or would that be Dad? Whichever it is—the other parent also soon joined them from behind me) to make sure everything was okay.
I took a lot of photos of them, they were so cute. And they had a nice lesson today in the harmlessness of (most) paddlers. They were pretty much all ignoring me by the time I left them.

I went into blue spring on the way back upstream. This limpkin (fairly tame, though I don’t think it was Bob) was in there fishing for snails.
This is the first year I have seen owls on this river, and now I am seeing them on almost every trip. And, like yellow crowned night herons, if I see them, I photograph them…
This was the only juvenile little blue heron I saw today, though the adults are still everywhere.
Finally, as I got close to the boat ramp, I came to those same wood ducks from the beginning of this post, this time on the move.
As much as I am enjoying never having to worry about rain ruining a paddling day, even I would welcome a downpour or two at this point. Meanwhile, I’ll be paddling. Stand by for the next report.


OldHorsetailSnake said...

Gallinule parent is looking good. Her kids? Not so much.

Floridacracker said...

Great baby pictures!

sue said...

Really enjoyed these!!!