Friday, March 14, 2008

Paddlin' with the Pelicans at Cedar Key

There is indeed, perhaps, no better way to hold communion with the sea
than sitting in the sun on the veranda of a fishermen's cafe.
~Joseph W. Beach

It was time to return to Cedar Key, and this time with the kayak! The new rec boat, a Necky Manitou 13, went along on this trip. Here it is waiting to be loaded during the packing process:

I had reserved a cottage but ended up in a condo (long story and it ended up working out very well). Info on the condo property, including a link to their site, and photos from around town on this trip are on the Photo Miscellanea blog.

I was given a condo on the first floor of Building B (B102--I recommend it). All the condos have balconies with views of the nearby inlets and islands. This was the view from my balcony (if you look closely you can see a pelican perched on one of the docks on the left side of the water).

The kayak could be easily launched from a shallow area next to that little wooden walkway at the end of the yard. I did minimal unpacking (just transferring food from the cooler to the refrigerator) before heading out. Here's the view from the water right after launching.

There are a few docks on the left side that had two birds on them as I passed by. A pelican (probably the same as the one in the balcony view above),

and an egret.

I tend to seek out pelicans whenever I am near saltwater. Since I rarely paddle in saltwater, I seldom see them from the same level. I had a great time on this trip! First I passed these two.

Similar to the birds on the Wacissa, these pelicans see a lot of paddlers and are unconcerned with our proximity. This one was perched on a piling and while it was fully aware I was nearby, I had to wait a bit for it to look my way.

Such great coloring. I continued on the channel, heading for the Gulf. And here's yet another group of pelicans milling around near the dock of another condo property.

I was not the only kayak on the water (not even close), and liked the way this boat looked as I reached the Gulf (note more pelicans on the pilings).

I saw a gull coming in for a landing and took a series of photos of it. It's near touchdown, so far so good,

Putting on the brakes...

Might have come in a bit fast...

Hard to know if it overshot or if it had spotted a fish. Less than graceful, either way.

And off it went.

A flock of white pelicans flew by overhead:


The number and variety of birds that can be spotted on just a short paddling trip is astounding. I tended to concentrate more on photographing the ones I see less often on paddling trips, but there were many great egrets and snowy egrets as well as the more saltwater-specific birds. No need to pursue them from one side of the channels to the other, you could just sit still and they would fly by. Here comes another one!

I headed back to the condo (if I had known the next day would be too windy to go back out, I would have stayed on the water much longer!). In the inlet that leads to the launch access I came to two pairs of lesser scaups.

(The other female was lagging behind a bit...) They seemed a little more skittish than the other birds had been and watched me warily, keeping their distance.

The female of that pair took off flying. As I was drifting along, the male decided maybe leaving was a good idea. So with a few hops

and skips

he was away.

At the risk of being redundant, this is a perfect paddling destination! And the residents are wisely promoting it as such, with many places renting kayaks. Everywhere you walk through town, you will see kayaks.


Here's a collection of them in the parking area of the condo building.

I spotted this paddler and catamaran in the water during a walk through town.

Before I left Cedar Key, I made reservations for my next stay there--I can't wait to get back out on that water again. I had been told that one could sometimes spot roseate spoonbills in the mangroves along the water edge. I wasn't lucky enough this time; maybe next time.

Meanwhile, I will be getting back to my regular paddling spots. Stand by.


Mary said...

What wonderful pictures! I love the pelican pics and that series of the duck skipping on the water is so fantastic!

SophieMae said...

I've been wondering where you were! Cedar Key is one of the very rare 'tourist spots' I love to visit. I'm hoping I have time to zip through there tomorrow when I make a quick run down to Crystal River.

Your last 'gull' is an American Oystercatcher! I'm always so tickled to see them!

Your skipping scaup shots are spectacular! And the pelicans! And the WHITE pelicans! And the mangroves! And.... Oh, I just LOVE all your pics! For me, they're so 'homey'. 8-}

Steve said...

That really does look like a great place to be a paddler. I like pictures of other kayakers out enjoying the day. Congratulations on your new Manitou!

silentspringfl said...

These photos are beautiful! Thanks, as always, for the good paddling info -- this place looks wonderful.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

You done good -- very good -- young lady. I had to swipe the pelican picture to show it to my school-teacher step-daughter. They have a thing on birds in the third grade, and they'll love your photo, I know.

Crayons said...

Wow, do I always say "breathtaking" when I visit your blog? These photos are just excellent, and I like the way you tell the story. These transport me from my Wisconsin end-of-winter blues.

Sandpiper said...

Beautiful! It would be difficult to choose a favorite. They are all terrific.

Stacie said...

OMGosh Peggy these are FANTASTIC! That pelican shot of the group swimming by the dock...that is a Framer for sure! Awsome! It looks like you had a good time there and how cool that your accomodations got upgraded. Your green kayak looks a LOT like my Gertie..same color too..though I'd worry the gators would try to get frisky thinking it was good mate material! LOL ;)