Saturday, June 23, 2007

Floating the Withlacoochee

My dad likes buzzards and we did see this fella on the Withlacoochee last Saturday! When I get DSL later this week I will be able to post lots more photos than I have. I got nagged so much I gave in!

I've floated the Withlacoochee River twice in as many weeks now. This river converges with the Suwannee River in Madison County. There is an old springhouse at the convergence. The river is banked with large limestone rocks and it is filled with mullett and sturgeon. In fact, there is a sign warning boaters to beware of jumping sturgeon, which can seriously injure a boater if hit. All we got hit by was Florida sunshine as we floated about on a sand bank, doing nothing on a hot summer day! My idea of well spent time...I have stayed out of the sun for most of my years in Florida, but lately I've been unable to avoid tanning.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Playing Hookey on The River

How long has it been since I've been on the river? It seemed like an eternity this week. I rounded up two friends today...Peggy ( of course, who was eager to see if her newly repaired Mystic would float (ha,ha) and my good friend Sherry; who has put up with me for eleven years on Blairstone Lane. It's great having two kayaks. My friends have no excuse for saying, "No"!
It was very hot today and I began my trip with a dip in the spring water of the Wacissa, which is always refreshingly cold. Sherry is a good wildlife spotter and she spotted a raccoon almost immediately near Little Blue Spring. Peggy got jealous! The purple gallinules have more babies scuttling about on the lily pads and this one was quite the jumper. His uncle looks on.

It took all afternoon to spot a yellow crowned night heron but we did and he was drying his wings, a comical pose when herons do it.

This Swallow Tailed Kite was fishing near the end of our trip. I cropped it with Photoshop Starter Edition.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wacissa Monday

This scene looked like a face off but really turtles and alligators share logs with no apparent confrontations, all up and down this spring fed river. Or maybe the alligator hasn't gotten hungry, yet!
I think this is a spider lilly but someone who knows may tell me differently.
Floating the same river countless times brings a comforting sense of familiarity. One knows where to look for birds, alligators, and turtles. The time of year predicts babies, or migratory birds, and the temperature and wind currents affect what one is likely to see and experience as well. Wood ducks are still having babies and growing their ducklings, purple gallinules are having babies like this one, who was walking about on the river rushes by itself. . Many of the herons are juveniles with interesting coloration. The yellow crowned night herons are plentiful and mulletts are jumping. This river dissolves my anxieties, which of late have been too plentiful. I feel very lucky to be able to float this river when I need to.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Rainy Saturday on The Wacissa

With the advent of hurricane season Tropical Storm Barry has dumped some much heralded rain on the North Florida piney flatwoods. The birds are always out in numbers after a rain so I decided to take a late afternoon paddle on the Wacissa.

I looked first for the logging road through the Aucilla Wildlife Management area to see if I could get down to the mid river launch and explore the lower river. The yellow flies were thick however, and the logging road is very sandy with deep ruts. It is about four miles through the forest and not marked. I gave up after getting pretty close and decided to walk it from the river launch some time and see where the road goes so I can find my way in next fall. Peggy said she would do it with me sometime if I scouted it first. I just couldn't feature getting out amidst all those yellow flies.

The sky was cloudy with some sprinkles of rain and the wind was blowing briskly downriver. I saw many yellow crowned night herons and literally dozens of little blue herons. There were juvenile birds of several varieties and everyone was diligently fishing. I was nearly alone on the river as I was Thursday night when I went out for the Blue Moon.