Friday, December 30, 2005

Piney Z Lake and The Heritage Trail

A new feature of the blog is the ability to click on the title for an external link. So, click this title to read more about the Lafayette Heritage Park and Trail system in Tallahassee.
Here is a kayak angler out enjoying this little gem on a Friday afternoon!

I had the good fortune to discover another flock of wood storks on Piney Z Lake today. This lake is only about two miles from my home as the crow flies and about 6.8 miles by vehicle. My office is the same distance from my home. Hhhhmmmmm...kayaking or work, now which will I choose????

Piney Z Lake is on the other side of the railroad tracks which run on the edge of the Alford Greenway. Before all this land was built up with homes I used to ride my trailbike back into the woods to watch the wildlife on this lake and I wanted to access it with a boat. Now it is easy.

I saw dozens of wood storks, cormorants by the hundreds, herons of all sorts, ibises, and many ducks!
The boat ramp pictured here is for one of my kayak friends since she likes to see what she is up against when it comes to launching. This launch is on one of the five fishing fingers of the lake which are part of Heritage Park.
This little park is destined to become a part of a series of parks, jogging trails, and canoe and kayak trails in Tallahassee. The park is at the end of Heritage Park Blvd. which is off Conner Blvd. The launch is not too convenient as you must haul your boat about twenty yards from the parking lot down to the fishing finger that has the launch. But the birding is worth it!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A crowd for the Moon view!

Everyone wants a good seat!
Oops! I disturbed a meeting!
Meet in the cypress tree at 1700.
What's that osprey doing at our meeting?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Birds at Lake Munson

Floating among the cypress trees!

This was an excellent day for viewing birds on Lake Munson. Although I don't have a teleconverter lens, I was able to get some pretty good closeups of the many woodstorks, herons, ibis, grebes, and cormorants I saw today. The nest is a wood stork nest. The birds were flying all over the lake and I was thrilled to be among so many. I also saw an osprey. This is a great birding lake. At the end of the day I paddled up to my friend's dock and put down a box of chocolates for him to find while he watched the sunset.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Woodstorks in flight

This is a long view of the woodstork nest. They make their nests over water to avoid raccoons. But alligators hang around hoping for chicks or food to fall in the water! I'm going to watch this rookery for nesting pairs this spring. I don't think they have started yet.

These woodstorks were among the dozen or so I saw on Lake Munson today. They are truly breathtaking when they take off. You hear a wooshing of their wings but no other sound!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Killick in many forms!

The killick is an old world word for a stone or other heavy object used as a boat anchor. This collection of killicks recovered from the bottom of Lake Munson during its last draining is an interesting assortment. Can you name the automotive parts and other assorted heavy objects?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Cypress Trees and Woodstorks

Wood storks nest in cypress trees such as these. Their nests are about three feet across and are fifty to sixty feet up in the air.

Wood storks almost became extinct before being listed on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Endangered Species List in 1984. In the 1930s, more than 60,000 wood storks inhabitated the United States. But development, destruction of habitat and other factors reduced their population to about 4,500 breeding pairs by 1980 They are magnificent birds to watch while flying and are only rivaled by Sandhill Cranes in their flying magnificence, in my opinion. They are said to fly as high as six thousand feet up...

I have seen small flocks of Sandhill Cranes in the marshes in Pasco county in the spring as well as bald eagles and redtailed hawks. Bald eagles are excellent soarers and stay very high up.

I have recently seen as many as ten wood storks flying on Lake Munson and I am told there are more. If you look closely at these cypress trees you can see the pink eggs of apple snails. The snails come out at night to lay these trails of pink eggs on the cypress knees. (I did not take this wood stork picture. Apologies to it's author and I do not intend to benefit commerically from this image. )

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Lake Munson Cypress Trees

Lake Munson is a secret birder's delight on the South side of Tallahassee. There is a boat launch south of Capital Circle for access. I was visiting for a few minutes and took these shots. Earlier in the day there were hundreds of storks, anhingas, cormorants, herons, and limpkins.
It's generous number of apple snails attracts many wading birds. It is a beautiful place in all seasons. Tomorrow I will kayak it and get some bird pictures. I recommend it to birders but if you are boating, beware of the many alligators. It is lined with old cypress trees, some of which are pictured here. My friend here is an avid gardner and these are winter flowers in his garden.
I would have been there earlier but "Toss The Feathers" played the mayor's home for the Parade of Homes benefit for the Tallahassee Symphony. Impressed?