Thursday, July 31, 2008

More pictures of birds actually doing stuff

I came upon this Great Blue Egret striking this weird pose. I came to the conclusion that he was drying his wings. After emailing Peggy from Paddle tales she confirmed that he was doing just that. This bird looks about 3 feet tall and it was just the oddest pose. 
I then spotted this Snowy Egret running around on the weeds. He would sink down slightly and have to flap his wings to continue on. It was quite entertaining to watch. Eventually he settled down and went back to the business of fishing.
This Green Heron was standing on this little log that was poking out of the water. He must have been bored with the fishing because he started grooming himself. I thought the way his wing was down was interesting. I either see these birds fishing or flying. So it was interesting to see his wing partially extended. 
I spent more time with each bird this time and I think I got some better pictures. The weeds on the Wacissa make this a little easier as you can kind of park on the weeds. Getting across the weeds can be challenging as well. They slow the boat right down and even paddling becomes a chore. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Black & White Wednesday

Monday Morning on the Wacissa River. It was just a little foggy when I got there. The sun was coming up from the left side of the picture so it seems a little foggier then it really was. The water was absolutly flat when I started paddling. The breeze did pick up to about 5 kts. Just enough to keep it comfortable. The rain fell later and made things steamy. Check out the last picture of this post.
There were lots of these Green Herons out fishing. They stand on these limbs over the water which is usually covered in this duckweed. How they are able to determine there are fish under there is a mystery to me. I have done some scuba diving in water with duck weed and it doesn't let any light through. I watched this bird for a while and he finally had to move to another branch closer to the water. 
This bird (Snowy Egret) was posing nicely. Neck outstrechted , side profile and a nice background. 
This was after a fairly short rain shower. It was one of those showers that just seems to make it hot and sticky. There was enough moisture in the air to leave this fog across the river and into the woods. There is a sit on top kayak on the left side of the picture.
Another nice day out on the water. I had the river almost to myself. And did I mention no Airboats.  I have lots more pictures so stay tuned. I was able to spend 2 days on the Wacissa this trip.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back on the Wacissa

The stars must have been aligned or something like that.

The kids are spending the week at their grandparents house in Jay, Florida and Tami is working in Tallahassee for a couple of days. I drove over and meet her. We went to dinner with friends at a place called Masa's it is a Japanese restaurant I definitely want to go there again. This morning I got up and drove to the Wacissa River. This is a very nice river and I think it is worth the drive even with $4 gas. This first picture is the river fairly early. The fog burned off pretty quick. 
The water was as still as glass. A little breeze came up later and keep it pleasant out on the water.
I went over to try and sneak up on a Tri-colored Heron (next picture) and this Butterfly came around and wasn't shy. I managed to get some good pictures and ended up close to the heron.
I spotted this Tri-colored Heron This one was standing there watching me take pictures of the butterfly and patiently waited his turn to model. I took several pictures and even backed away without him moving. These birds can stand still for so long. This one outlasted me. 
This Egret was fishing and keeping an eye on me. It was just starting to rain. The first of several passing showers. The first few I didn't even have to get out my rain jacket. 
I had lunch out on the river and then paddled back in the rain. It was just rain showers without any thunder or lightning. For the last mile upstream it was raining pretty good. I kept the camera in the dry bag and past by lots of birds that were just going about their business. It was good to be back out on this wonderful river. The first 4 hours I had it completely to my self. I saw a couple kayaks and 2 john boats and lots of birds.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Black & White Wednesday Lake photos

Top of the Morning
This first picture was actually taken in color. The Anhinga and the sky provide the blacks and grays. So I am calling this a black and white photo. This bird had landed on the tree and then climbed up to the top. A few minutes later he was joined by another bird and the battle for king of the hill ensued. This fellow finally won, having the high ground gives you a big advantage.
Needle in a hay stack
Find the birds hidden in the photo. There are 6 of them. The first 5 are pretty easy to find and the 6th bird is a little harder. There are 3 different species.
2 Younglings
These 2 younglings were hanging out pretty much on their own. While all the other birds were up in the trees these 2 were standing down closer to the water. This did tend to get them away from most of the hubbub going on up in the trees.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

3 Sisters

A couple of days ago I was out riding my bike close to my house and went down to check out this small lake. I saw a guy fishing and as I looked down the lake I saw this very small island covered with egrets. Today I got up early and drove the 2 miles over there and launched my boat. I slowly paddled over close to the island and was rewarded with about 100 birds hanging out. Many of them are juveniles several of them still had the fuzz and not too many feathers. The lake is surrounded by houses and a 4 lane road. So a guy in a canoe didn't bother the birds one little bit.
Here is what I am calling the 3 sisters. These 3 Female Anhinga were sitting in the tree looking around and I can imagine talking. They would put there heads together (like the 2 pictured) and talk and then continue with their business. 
Cattle Egrets
There were a lot of these hanging around. They were looking very cute with their feathers up like hats. Look close this one has a stick it its mouth and was building a nest over to the left just out of the frame.
Here it the rear view you can see the tan feathers on his back. 
All in all it was a pretty nice paddle. It only took a few minutes to drive to the lake. The water was pretty still so the paddling was easy. There was just enough breeze to make it pleasant. The sky was cloudy so I took my rain jacket. Of course that guaranteed keeping the rain away. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Black and White Wednesday, Exchange Island pt.3

I have been to Exchange Island 3 times in a row now. I have been there for a few reasons. Gas prices are high, I can drive there and paddle and still be home for lunch and despite the trash I like the island. It is located in the middle of the city and yet it feel like you are miles away. As long as you don't hear the traffic from the bridge.
There was an Egret and a Great Blue Heron in this tree. 
This is what years of neglect and people who don't care looks like. This was just a small area of a much larger one covered with glass and trash. I had already picked up the cans and bottles. I am not to sure what to do about the broken glass.
Here is the Snowy Egret sitting on a stick overlooking the water. 
As always Take it with you when you leave.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Birds of Exchange Island

This Egret was coming in for a landing and spotted me and made a slight turn so as not to overfly me. This bird looks very elegant flying through the air with its wings outstretched. You can see how translucent the feathers are. It is amazing how something so thin and lightweight can hold up a bird.
This Great Blue Heron was flying along the shoreline looking for a place to land. He flew past me and landed about 1/4 mile down shore. He sure looked good going by. 
I spotted this Snowy Egret and was able to paddle along the shore line and get pretty close and take several pictures. The reeds came out and I just paddled up to the reeds and sat there taking pictures. This bird knew I was there but I was partially hidden and apparently not threatening. I was able to back away after taking my pictures. This picture was taking on my way back to the boat ramp. I had already picked up trash along the shoreline in this area so there is nothing in the background to ruin a good photo.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Been a while

It has been a while since I have been able to go out on the water. Traveling, Birthdays and just life in general have kept me doing other things. I do hear the water calling me and see my canoe waiting patiently for me. Yesterday I decided to go do some paddling. Since I had limited time I decided to go back to Exchange Island and pick up some more trash. I have got to figure out a way to get people to stop leaving it for me. I don't really like picking up trash especially other peoples trash. The people that are leaving this trash are other boaters. There is no other way to get to this island except by boat. I picked up trash along the shore line. This was stuff either floating in the water or in the weeds that I could reach with my grabber thing. I then landed on the island and checked out the place where people seem to camp. It was covered with trash since the last time I picked trash there (May 25th five weeks ago) I personally would not want to sit around the camp fire with beer cans and broken bottles all over the place. Then I spotted this trash bag in the tree. Some genius brought a bag and apparently put their trash in it. And then left it hanging over night and can you believe the raccoons got into it. Then deciding it was too much work to pick up their trash left this mess. I picked up 2 bags of trash again this time. One of the bags was in the area I picked up stuff last time I was here. I don''t even mess with the broken glass. I am very careful walking around. This is the last place I would ever go camping now.

Tomorrow I will post some nicer pictures of some birds. Stay tuned,