Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Great Day for Paddling

Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent
if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
~Henry Van Dyke

We have had a few days of lower humidity lately and it has been a joy to be outside! Our puppy can now be left at large in the house instead of in his pen, making me feel less guilty for leaving him. So off I went back to the Wacissa.

My first bird of the day was the great blue heron that hangs out near the boat ramp. This time it was doing a passable imitation of a swan...

Shortly after seeing him, I passed a green heron in an open area of surface greenery. This one's coloration was unusually subdued; I'm not sure if that is an indication of gender or age, or maybe just genetics.

Last time I was on this river I saw many, many female wood ducks (but no males). I spotted what I assumed was two more females at the edge of the river. However, when I had the photos in the computer and could take a closer look, they look more like males that don't have all of their adult coloring yet. The females don't have the red on the beak.

One of them turned to look at me as I passed.

Several of the birds that I saw were busy preening. This juvenile ibis was in a tree and hard at it,

while this tricolored heron was making himself presentable on the river.

I was thrilled later to see a limpkin....who was also preening.

That one stopped long enough to pose for me.

A friend of mine is coming down from Indiana in November to do some paddling and camping with me. Paddlers in Indiana never have to consider alligators when they cross surface growth in their boats or when they pull up to the shore to get out and stretch. Hopefully the gators will be staying warm off the water when she is here.... And speaking of gators, I think this is the same one that is in the previous post, on the same log.

I went as far as my usual warm-weather turning-around spot, around two miles downstream. There was little wind and the current was slow, so paddling back upstream was easy, as was stopping to take photos. This female woody was posing nicely on a stump protruding from the water.

I came to several all-white juvenile little blue herons on this trip. This one was very tolerant of my presence, even when I got quite close.

Shortly after I took that, but before I had left the area, it took off and flew a few feet in front of me. I managed to get a photo of the landing.

I saw many juvenile night herons on this trip, both in trees and flying by. Or fishing at the water level.

This female woody and her brood were in the same general area as the ones in the previous post, so it may be the same family. This time they were swimming, though.

When she saw me getting closer, she drew them together and headed for the safety of the shoreline (I'm harmless! Really!).

After passing Blue Spring, I came to a more typically bright-colored green heron fishing from a branch over the water.

It saw me and moved to a higher branch.

When I was almost back to the boat ramp I saw the resident great blue heron again. This time sticking its neck out....

I was out almost four hours and it was the most pleasant paddling trip of the summer so far. I hope to repeat it soon. Stand by.


Kimberlee said...

Amazing gator photo! Of course, your photos are always wonderful, but those baby ducks REALLY warm my heart! Too sweet!

Big Bend Blog said...

I've never seen a great blue heron get so deep in the water before!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Excellent photos ... as usual. And by the way, the woods are "very" silent when I sing. (I scare all the wildlife away with my feeble vocal prowess.)

Sandra said...

Love the wood ducks, the SWAN and the female woody. The Green Heron looks like he was painted with a brush, the colors are incredible. Your comment from Van Dyke, inspired me to do a post today. thanks

Stacy said...

Wow! I've seen some of your pictures before but WOW! I love them. They're so beautiful! : )

Great Blue Herons are one of my favorite birds. I always look for them along the creek near my house, but lately (since the road's been closed due to a bridge being out) I haven't had the pleasure of seeing them as I drive along the stream. Seeing the picture above just brings a huge smile to my face! Thanks for sharing!

Wood ducks are another bird I find fascinating though I've only very recently been able to mark them off my bird list as having seen them. It's great to see such close up pics of this beautiful bird! : )

Take care!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Follow up: it reminds me of blogging, I end up using many of whatever talent I have, and am happy just to go with it. It's a really good saying.