Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Finally! Paddling the Wacissa Again

There’s nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . .
half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats.
Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)

It's been a very long time between paddles! But today was the day to get back to the Wacissa.

What a great day to be paddling--still shorts-and-t-shirt weather, but with a nice breeze. Most of the day was under clear blue skies and sunshine...which is great for paddling but creates all manner of challenges for photography.

I came to an egret and a great blue heron standing close together. Here's the heron:

and here's the egret:

And here is the front view of that egret:

I drifted downstream, enjoying the day. When I came to the Blue Spring inlet, I decided to go in and see if I could find the alligator that Abby spotted there last time she paddled this river. Neither of us had ever seen a gator near the spring. Maybe the lack of swimmers and divers made it seem like a nice place to set up housekeeping. It was there, at the spring--

Not much else going on there so I continued downstream. I spotted a threesome of otters, just moments before one of them spotted me:

Hey you guys! You guys! You see that?

Yeah, what is that? Hey, Fred, get up here and check this out!

Wull, what the heck is that????

They swam off a ways and then turned back to look at me again.

Well good grief, it's still here!

And they went off on their way. And I went on mine.

I went down the alleyway that has all the moorhens. You know how I love photographing these guys when they run across the water. The sun was in front of me, providing terrible photo lighting, but I can't resist showing you these anyway. This one started out at a run across the water in front of me,

And then decided that hopping across might work better.

I wanted to show you the egret that was standing oh-so regally in the grasses but as I focused on it, it decided to go elsewhere.

and off it goes

and away...

There were hundreds of coots in the area of the Calico Hill boat ramp. I have seen a few of these through the summer; they supposedly are here year-round, but these were definitely migrating, there were so many. I like these little birds.

There were also many, many eastern phoebes on the river. This looks like an early-morning photo (which is why I like it) but in fact just reflects the lighting of the moment:

Here's our usual view of otters on this river--just the top of the head, eyes, and ears. And nose.

I was concerned that the limpkins would be gone, but I heard them here and there as I paddled (by this time heading back upstream). This one had just found an apple snail to snack on.

It wasn't real happy at my proximity and moved off a bit.

I sat and watched it for a while and when it flew a few feet upstream and into the sun, I got another photo of it.

Another phoebe sat on a reed as I passed by so I got another phoebe photo.

When I got back to the Blue Spring inlet, I decided to go back in. The gator was no longer where it had been; probably had retreated to the woods to dig out a hole to settle into to escape our cool nights. On the way out I spotted one of my favorite photo subjects (showing more evidence of the sun's influence...)--

I know that a lot of folks don't like them--they are scavengers, they get into trash cans and make a mess, and they can be dangerously unpredictable...but they've never bothered me and I like them! This one was making its way down the shoreline looking for treats.

Near the junction of the inlet and river I saw this hawk on a low branch of a tree. It didn't seem to mind my taking several photos of it.

A super day on the river. I'm off camping again tomorrow (sans kayak this time, this park is better for hiking and spotting deer and other land critters). I hope to not be so long between paddling posts in the future!

Stand by.


Beth said...

Your postings are always good and your photography is amazing...I've been a big fan for a while now...but today you sealed it...you used my very favorite quote ever...thanks for making my day

pineyflatwoodsgirl said...

Wow Peggy! What a great day for seeing critters on our favorite river. I love the fall and winter paddling on the Wacissa! See you soon...I hope!

Kimberlee said...

Okay, Peggy. I think I've exhausted my list of adjectives that adequately describe your photos. Amazing...exquisite...I just can't think of anything original! I am blown away by all the wildlife on that river and by your awesome ability to capture it in photographs. And it looks like you must have had a lot of fun!

sue said...

amazing as usual..made my day!