Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday on the Wacissa

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
~Albert Einstein

How wonderful to have another warm day to get out paddling on my favorite river!

I had the boat in the water around noon, under bright sunlight and a clear blue sky. Incredibly, the water level had risen higher yet from where it was last time I was there; it extended even farther into the woods on either side. Certainly better than having it be low, even if it does give the birds a place to hide. Nonetheless, there were a few here and there on the main part of the river.

The first one I saw was the beautiful egret standing in the middle of the river just soaking up the warmth of the sun.

I saw several common egrets and many ibis. This adult ibis flew by as I was drifting downstream.

A little farther along, a juvenile glided past me and joined several others at the side of the river.


The oddest thing happened. As I was drifting downstream, I thought I heard music, perhaps from a banjo (but not in a creepy Deliverance way...). The only possible source was two kayaks parked at the side of the river a long distance ahead; too far to tell through binoculars if someone in one of them was playing an instrument. As I got closer, it sounded more like a ukelele. It seemed that the young guy in one kayak was playing it, while the other tapped lightly on his boat to keep the rhythm. Here's the odd thing: It was downright eerie how perfectly appropriate those simple chords sounded on the river. Sound travels so remarkably far over water that if I hadn't spotted the kayaks, it would be impossible to determine the source of the music, it just seemed to be in the air. I'm normally a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to any manmade sounds interfering with the natural peace and quiet of the river, but I was actually sorry when he quit playing.

The knocking sounds of busy woodpeckers were nearly constant during my entire paddling trip. These are very elusive and difficult-to-locate birds, though. I saw this one appear on a tree near the river's edge so I paddled over to see if it would stay in sight, which it did, but only briefly.


Speaking of elusive, green herons have become few and far between for me on this river, but on this trip I saw two. This one posed by a log.

Just past Cassidy Spring I saw something very exciting. An egret was standing by the side of the river; the exciting part was that it was sporting breeding plumage! When I went back over all the egret photos I took on this day, I noticed that several of the egrets show the very beginning of a green tinge near the nares, another sign that it is breeding season. This means that a trip to the rookery in St. Augustine isn't far off in my future.

As often happens, the last photo of the day was an egret in flight.

The weather person is predicting a return to chilly (for us) days ahead, so I may be back to doing more camping than paddling for a while. I'm looking forward to being able to do both on the same trip...

Stand by.


Beverly said...

Beautiful plumage on the egret!

Cowboygrrl said...

Great photos as usual. Thanks for taking the time to put them up.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

It's funny about Albert Einstein. He had more memorable quotes than he did scientific equations it seems.

Sandra said...

I am so glad you are back to paddling so I can see/hear your paddle tales. the woodpecker is totally charming and the first photo of the juvenile ibis in flight is really special. Ibis are the birds i always say they are so ugly they are cute.

Suzanne said...

I'm glad you were able to get back on the river, Peggy. You get to enjoy, but I do too! Great fotos and commentary -- I feel like I'm there.