Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hangin' with the Egrets on the Wakulla River

In the fields and woods more than anything else
all things come to those who wait,
because all things are on the move,
and are sure sooner or later to come your way…
-John Burroughs

On my way to the Wakulla River from my house, I travel over a 14-mile stretch of Hwy 59 between the town of Wacissa and Hwy 98. These14 miles have a tendency to seem endless, with just scrub pine for scenery on either side of the road (however, I did once see a black bear crossing the road). Lately there has been some work done on the west side of the road, where the trees have all been cleared and fences and gates have appeared. I can't imagine what they are doing.

On my way to the Wakulla yesterday I was rolling along on 59 as usual. And then over to my right I spotted a bald eagle sitting in a mud puddle in the middle of the cleared area, about 25 feet from the road. Yikes! So I stopped as quickly as possible and turned around. I guess this made it nervous and it took off from the puddle and flew to a tree limb.



I started to walk toward that tree, to see how close I could get, but it didn't like that either and flew off.



I watched it and it was joined by a second eagle. They are probably looking for a place to nest and maybe the one in the puddle was checking to see what that water had to offer in the way of food (not much). From that spot on 59 they could easily reach the Wacissa at Goose Pasture or the Wakulla and St. Marks rivers. Much better than a mud puddle in a construction area.

I got to the Wakulla at about 1:00. I was hoping to see some mergansers but no luck, maybe I am too early still. There were a number of grebes on the river, as well as American coots (of the bird variety).



There were several egrets at the river today. I must have caught this one at nap time--I've never seen one of these yawn before, but I'm sure that's what it was doing.



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In fact, I watched the same process with a great blue heron in another section of river.

The river was beautiful today, and there were many paddlers out enjoying it.



In addition, I saw more manatees in the water this time than I have ever seen on any one trip. It seemed like the kayak was passing over one or more every time I looked down. I wish I had taken the underwater camera. One paddler said she spotted a mother with baby but I missed that one.

This great blue heron was enjoying the sunshine along the bank.



As it turns out, not all the wildlife on this river is a joy to behold...



This charmer and his brood came zooming up the river at a breakneck speed until one of them spotted a pod of manatees and they stopped long enough for Bubba here to take a photo or two. And then, despite proof of the presence of manatees, and perhaps unable to read the signs requesting that care be taken by power boaters, they continued upstream with much noise and water-churning.

I hope to get back out again soon. Stand by.

4 comments:

pineyflatwoodsgirl said...

Funny picture! A client today told me this style of dress began in prisons where inmates were not issued belts because of the danger of hanging themselves....
Gorgeous photo of the river! wow!

SophieMae said...

Don't people just make you sick sometimes? UGH!

DS and I headed south yesterday and spotted some mergansers in a pond just west of Branford on alt 27.

SophieMae said...

er, west side of Bronson, not Branford. 8-}

Rob said...

Hahaha. That one photo really cracked me up. Thanks for the laugh.