Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Long Time No Wacissa

Even the upper end of the river believes in the ocean.
William Stafford

It was so wonderful to get back on the Wacissa! The waterproof housing for my little Sony digital camera arrived the day before I went to NC. There was nothing underwater to photograph there--the lake was very clear but the bottom was sandy and had nothing on it of interest. So I got to try the camera underwater for the first time today. You'll be seeing a lot of that in this post.

But first I want to post the photo of the day, so my dial-up friends may be able to see it. I got to the river fairly early (everything about the trailer routine is simple and straightforward except for the required inflating of the tires before I leave. I left much later than I intended; I'll be tweaking that process) and went straight to Blue Spring (to try out the camera). Steam was rising off the water in the channel that leads to the spring, and this ibis was waiting for me when I got there.

This was the view shortly after turning in to the spring channel:

I took both photos and video while in the spring--I was fortunate to be the only one there at the time. The video, if I can get the code for it properly, will be at the bottom of this post. It turns out that photos of the spring are like photos of other natural areas... you kind of have to be there. But, since you aren't, for the most part, this will give you an idea of what it looks like from a kayak. Or rather from as far as my arm will reach below the kayak. The blue color is real. I believe the spring is about 45 feet deep.


At one point I noticed that I was casting a shadow into the depths and so took that, also from below the boat (I love that taking photos that way eliminates the problem of ripples on the water causing reflections).

I guess we will stay with the spring photos for a while (there's just no stopping me when I get a new toy). Later in the day I visited Cassidy Spring, which is also known as Little Blue Spring. This is a significantly smaller spring. I got these photos there. This first one is looking down to the bottom of it, with the sun shining in:

Here's another look down into the spring area.

I have been trying to explain to my brother how clear this water is, which can't be done with words. So I put the camera about 4" underwater and took this of plants about 4' below the surface near the spring. I hadn't intended initially to post this, but it's pretty (and you are looking through several feet of water).

Ok, so now on to the birds! This was fluffing day for several of them.

The first one of the day was this tricolored heron a short distance from the boat ramp.

When I pulled into Blue Spring, two pileated woodpeckers flew by in front of me and settled in a tree at the water's edge. I got several photos of them, most of which look like this one:

There were several ibises in the spring channel, as usual. This one was perched in a tree near the entrance.

After my spring visit, I drifted downstream. This yellow crowned night heron was one of my first fluffed birds, looking a little different than normally.

There were several green herons out today. This one was not overly thrilled with my presence and is pre-fluffed here.

However, the head-fluff came and it flew away.

I meandered down through the passage where we always see moorhen and gallinule chicks, and they are still there. Interestingly, this juvenile was in a nest area that had an adult purple gallinule and some very, very small chicks. Perhaps 3 generations of the same family. These are so cute.

It just watched me go by, while the adult gallinules were fussing a bit at my proximity.

Lots of little blue herons were out and about, but not too many tricoloreds. This little one was at the edge where I turned around to head back to the ramp.

Speaking of little blue herons, this one found a crab to snack on.

The last fluffing bird I saw was a juvenile little blue heron. Here it is starting the fluffing:

And in full fluff:

I was only out about 3 hours (storm clouds rolled in at about 2 pm, as usual) but it was fantastic to be back on this river. I saw a lot of paddlers in canoes, and two kayaks (and one power boat, no air boats).

Here's the video of Blue Spring, taken while drifting across it. Of course the quality got degraded but you get the idea. There's a fish that shows up nicely in the original, not sure if you will spot it in this. The loud clunk in the very beginning is me bashing the camera on the hull. I saw a video of the bottom of this river once; the person had added music to it. That was very nice but I'm sure it fluffed up the file size, so I have opted to have the camera hitting the hull as the only sound effect. After all, it's pretty quiet under water.

(Hope that worked. It's about 51 seconds long.)

I hope to get out again this week. Stand by.


pineyflatwoodsgirl said...

Magnificent!!!!! Wow!! I'm humbled....

OldHorsetailSnake said...

The very first picture in this is quality? Something quality, anyway. Just outstanding.

I couldn't get the video to play. Got a sign that says "Oops No Video" Rats.

Steve said...

Peggy, these photos are simply art! Not only those first two for their drama and clarity, but the springs ones for the near-abstract composition quality they express. Congratulations, and thank you for sharing them.

SophieMae said...

Ditto the previous comments! They're jaw-droppers! Words fail.....

RHD said...

I join the group, WOW!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Yes you did get it fixed. Yay you.

Now then, what is that fish in the lower left, you know?

clairesgarden said...

love the photos, particularly the kayak shadow.

Floridacracker said...

Sparkling,spectacular sharpness and composition!

vicki said...

Simply stunning. Above and below, a beautiful outing.

Marek said...

Wow! Great pictures and the first one is really breathtaking.


Anna said...

Wow! I love the pileated woodpecker and the green heron. The video is SO COOL and reminds me of my kayak trips to your area. That blue water just can't be beat.

SophieMae said...

I finally made time to load the video! Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

I'm pretty sure I spotted a second little fish near the end, eh wot?