Saturday, September 05, 2009

And Back To Paddling...

Tomorrow is open, right now it seems to be more
Than enough to just be here today.
~John Denver

As predicted, the weather was good for paddling so I returned to the Wacissa. Only a couple of cars in the parking lot, and I had the river nearly to myself for the three hours I was out. Doesn't get more peaceful than that!

The first photo I got today was a group image, taken shortly after leaving the boat ramp. Turtles, female wood ducks, and a limpkin at the top (which is not, despite appearances, standing on the wood duck's head).

I watched the limpkin for a while--they are not as plentiful on the river these days. It went back into the woods and then peeked out at me.

I drifted downstream and came to a man in a boat who was gathering seaweed (in small amounts, not like a harvester). We talked as I drifted toward him. I happened to glance over to the right and saw that I was passing very close to a green heron, usually a bird I have to actively seek out!

I went my usual distance and turned around. I would have gone farther, but the sky was starting to show signs of becoming overcast, which is never a good thing if you are miles downstream of the ramp (it never turned into rain, though). So I turned around at my recently-typical place and paddled slowly upstream. I came to a great blue heron and was getting ready to take a photo when it decided to leave. I was able to get a few pictures as it flew past me and downstream.


As I was about to leave that spot, I saw a snowy egret approaching. I got this of its landing:

As soon as it touched down, it saw me, hopped a few times, and then decided to go to more private fishing spots.


And those weren't the only birds I frightened off from that vantage point. Number three showed up before I could get a paddle in the water. An osprey was flying in from the right.

It put on the brakes to land in a branch nearly in front of me (though well above my head).

But before it landed, it saw me and bypassed the branch and flew on downriver. I hesitated to leave that spot--who knows what will show up next?

On my way back upstream I passed another grouping, this one a juvenile little blue heron and a young ibis.

I continued upstream. Just past the entrance to Blue Spring, I saw a young night heron sitting on a branch (there are many of these juveniles on the river these days). This one was very busy scratching itself and did not see me as I parked in the vegetation right in front of it. Scratch, scratch, scratch.

Uh oh, it spots me sitting there.

What to do?

Hmm, I missed a spot.

Are you still here?

I finally left it to scratch in peace. Near the boat ramp I came to an adult yellow crowned night heron, so how could I not include it?

I'm looking forward to my next trip. Stand by.


Sandra said...

Looks like a Thinking Heron to me. I love, love, love the landing Egret. My post today was a lazy one, thanks for your comments. I am so jealous of you in your kayak and these beautiful birds and wild life. I feel like I am there.

Kimberlee said...

That was a GREAT series of scratching photos!!! Such funny expressions and body language. :) I also loved the first photo...what a happy group! And such a tangle of turtles! There were heads popping up everywhere!

Jenna said...

Great post! Those pictures are really sensational. We've got beautiful waters for kayaking here in Newfoundland...