Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday Float

It's very hot on the river now but this seems to have drawn the birds back in numbers. I like to see the birds and turtles sharing space. The egrets know that turtles don't mean them any harm. They share sun drenched logs .
Two baby Barred Owls were born near Little Cassidy Spring recently and they are together there now. The babies give a funny squeaking noise which I have begun to notice in other spost along the river now that I know the sound. This is one of the pair seen below at the spring. These babies don't know humans well yet and they aren't very fearful, but they do seem curious.
This ibis was peering at me over Little cassidy Spring.

Here are the two babies together by the spring. Have I ever mentioned that I began to call my camping friends Springhoppers a few years ago. This name still fit s me. I am drawn to springs and I imagine myself owning land with a spring like the one at the back of Jim's property near the river. I think I should have a piece of land with a deep well. Fresh water is a precious resource and it is certainly at a premium in other parts of the world at this point. We are still spoiled by its abundance here in America. I would not want to depend on the Ganges for my water.

I get a great deal of pleasure sitting still in my kayak while the birds settle in around me and behave in birdlike ways. I seem so much more myself floating along the edge of the river peering into the trees to see what is up. I have heard the double knock south of the only house on the river again and I found a shady spot today and tried to get a glimpse of the bird making the noise. I did not hear the characteristic pileated call associated with these knocks. Of course I imagined I heard a tin horn call. So the fact is I am still looking for the Ivory Bills along the Wacissa. If they are here, eventually I will see them. But after being told by the seaweed farmers that they saw a panther along the river I have been reluctant to get out and search. And having seen my first big moccasin at Blue Spring I am much more snake conscious than I have been in the past. Too many responsibilities to get myself into a moccasin problem while floating alone, I'm afraid.
Yellow crowned night dracula!

Owl Baby Wading

This is one of the nest mates that toddled down to the spring while I was watching them. He seemed so human in this series of photos I had to group them together.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday Sights

I went over to Fernandina Beach with my folks last weekend and this sign on a bar in the riverfront area tickled me. I haven't posted my other Fernandina Beach photos yet. I am so used to keeping my true self still and quiet while other people talk I tend to withhold self-revelation on the blog. I want my photographs of nature to be the world my non-working mind dwells in I guess.
The pileated woodpeckers were finally back along the river but they are difficult to see with all the summer vegetation. I have decided I like winter floating better. It's easier to see into the trees to spot songbirds in winter and the river is so much more peaceful and empty of human discussions which punctuate the natural sounds so much in summer. But heck, I jabber too when I with someone on a float!
Although this photograph isn't a stunner, it shows how much life exists along the river banks in summer and that is why I included it.
This swallowtail was on my lantana at home after my float and so I included it. I have lots of lantana in my yard and it always has butterflies in the bright sunshine in summer. I am planning to put in another banana tree where the persimmon failed to prosper. I want a better crop of bananas out of my little plot around the house. The fig trees are filling up nicely now and although I have a few pears on my trees, it appears as though the animals have already invaded the pear trees. I also have a half built pond in the back yard I must tend to but falling on my ass out of the hammock last month has slowed me up!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sultry Wednesday on The Wacissa

A darkened yellow crowned night heron...
The great herons were gone for a while but now have returned
He's not as big as he looks here!
This appears to be a Cesna 172, like the one we had when I was a teenager! Dad has informed me he only rented the Cub for a short time. He owned the Cesna. I remember all my trips in it. Like flying to Schulers for cheese and lunch on Sunday.
The green herons are plentiful now but still skittish....

Giant swallowtail somewhat worse for wear...
I saw prothonotary warblers today!
Love birds!

I took advantage of some schedule changes today to take a four hour float on the river. I haven't been back for some time and I noticed my eyes were not as keen for movement. I saw many, many alligators and they are beginning to give mating calls. I discovered that paddling into a school of mullet will initiate their jumping. An interesting discovery... The otters are still nowhere in sight. Their long gestational season must mean they will be abundant about mid July, which is what I remember from last year. I had in mind today to find as many butterfly species as I could but the overcast skies and bit of rain seemed to keep them hidden. They need sunshine! Spider lilies have tendrils pointing to the sky now...It felt so nice to be back on the river to see what the beginning of summer brings. I heard the bears are swimming across now but I haven't seen one yet. That will be lucky!