The care of rivers is not a question of rivers, but of the human heart.
It's always great to get back to this river, though it continues to be distressing how very low the water level is. Kinda wonder how long it will be here...
A very quiet day for the most part--I guess everyone is gearing up for Thanksgiving! First photo of the day was this belted kingfisher, which was buzzing around near the boat ramp.
There are a lot of these sandpipers here these days, in about the same numbers as we see tricolored herons in spring and summer.
I drifted downstream, enjoying the quiet. When I got to the inlet to Blue Spring, of course I went in. I saw the gator again at the spring; it was in a position that had its head in the middle of some sort of river shrubbery. It was probably sound asleep in the warm sunshine and I knew that if I startled it, it would make a dash for the water, which would be very startling for me, so I just stealthily backed out of the spring. I wonder how long it will stay there; it could be a bit disturbing to swimmers and divers.
On my way out of the inlet I spotted this night heron, which I am certain was not there when I went in.
And on I drifted downriver. These cormorants were drying in the sun just a bit beyond Blue Spring.
There are many limpkins on the river now. This one, which actually might have been Bob given how little it cared about my presence, had just caught this snail.
About 3 minutes after it had occurred to me that I had not seen any otters on this trip, I came to four otters. They looked at me and then hastily moved off.
I have been looking lately for mergansers, because I know they show up about now. I was so happy to see (through the binoculars in the distance) a whole group of males and females. They swam ahead of me downstream (and, interestingly, ahead of me upstream as well) but flew off in a flurry of wings when I got at all close. This was the best I could do with them this time. These were hooded mergansers.
I turned around short of Calico Hill. On the way back upstream I managed to harass an egret. I first saw it perched at the top of a very small cypress tree.
It left there as I approached
and flew downstream. It stood in some of the surface horticulture for a while and I decided to go visit it again. I didn't quite manage to get a photo of it standing, but I did get it flying away (no doubt aggravated with me).
As I was approaching Blue Spring inlet again on my way upstream I heard some movement in the woods on the other side, so I let the kayak drift over that way. I spotted something moving that was definitely bigger than a squirrel, so I sat for a while peering into the woods. Coincidentally, given that this is two days before Thanksgiving, it turned out to be a flock of wild turkeys making their way through the woods near the water.
While I was sitting there watching them, an air boat came roaring down the river and went into Blue Spring inlet. It made a great deal of noise while in there, and about two minutes later three snowy egrets and two limpkins came flying out of the entrance, followed by the roaring air boat. No point in my going in there, it had clearly chased out all the birds and no doubt the land critters had fled into the woods to escape the noise. The ultimate anti-wildlife machine. I was glad I had gone in on my way downstream.
So I continued on toward the boat ramp. This great blue heron watched from the shoreline (halfway between Blue Spring and the ramp).
A wonderfully peaceful day on the river with the birds and otters (well, until the air boat came along).
Have a great Thanksgiving! I plan to camp again soon and of course will be back out on the water as well. Stand by.