Monday, July 16, 2007

Harassing the Herons (not really) on the Wacissa

"I have never seen a river that I could not love. Moving water…has a fascinating vitality. It has power and grace and associations. It has a thousand colors and a thousand shapes, yet it follows laws so definite that the tiniest streamlet is an exact replica of a great river."
Roderick Haig-Brown

This will be my last post till I get back from North Carolina. I'm putting that info here at the top as a reminder to repeat visitors of why you keep seeing the same post here. I'm not back yet! I should be returning sometime around the 25th or so (of this month).

I got a later start this morning than I had planned, and as a result had a shorter day. It was once again thundering and raining as I loaded up to leave the river, but this time it didn't start until I was in sight of the ramp area.

The first heron I frightened into flight (really--all I did was paddle by!) was a tricolored heron. I like this photo because it shows the coloring on the wing. I believe this is that vivid young one that has been depicted here before.

The next heron was a little farther downstream. I often take these photos using the "continuous advance" shutter function, so I get a series out of the same bird, such as these photos of a great blue heron. The first, shortly after it left its perch

and the next in the series, which shows the downward sweep of the wings.

I had a really cool Otter Moment on my way downstream. The water level is low in this river, and the seaweed that is not actually at the surface is often growing just below it, which can be a small obstacle to paddling. However, there are almost always holes in the seaweed, and if you plant your paddle in one of the holes, you can get decent forward momentum. I was looking to the left before putting the paddle blade in to locate the nearest hole in the seaweed and instead saw an otter face looking up at me! It of course immediately darted below the growth, and I laughed out loud. That has happened once with a very young gator--this was much cuter.

There were many female wood ducks on the river, I'm sure some are the grown-up versions of the chicks that appeared here a few months ago. This group was gathered on a log; a few of them stopped grooming themselves long enough to look at me.

Speaking of grooming, the egrets were also having a grooming day. Almost all of the ones I passed were in the process of preening. This one took a break to fluff its feathers out.

Later I passed a lone wood duck female. Maybe she didn't get the memo about the gathering downstream.

I looked everywhere for the limpkin chick. What I should have done was checked the photo from last time (pre-cropping) for telltale signs of where it might have been. I only have a vague memory of the area we were in that day (we were a bit busy trying to get off the water and out from under the thunder to pay attention to small details like that). I circled around the most likely part of the river twice today, but no luck.

I still can't resist taking pictures of yellow crowned night herons--maybe that's a habit left over from when they were more rare.

I was only out two and half hours today, which is fairly typical of this time of year. When I got back home I took the Mystic off the trailer and reset the cradles for the Prijon (took several tries to get them positioned right--it's now marked for where they go for each boat), which is loaded and ready to head out soon. I'm not sure what my connectivity will be on this trip. I'm also not sure what the paddling will be like and how many different places we will visit. As usual, stand by.


clairesgarden said...

fab pictures, hope you have a good trip paddlilng!!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You are so wonderful....

(I should try working that into a song.)

RHD said...

your pictures are superb! The only ones I've seen better than Deb's