Monthly Archives: April 2015

Silver River – April 22, 2015

We had a wonderful paddle today on the Silver River to celebrate Earth Day.  We paddled slowly and saw many birds, turtles, gators and monkeys.  Also a few late spring flowers.

Sorry the pictures are a little pixelated today – I had my camera on the wrong settings.

Beautiful clear waters near the head spring

Beautiful clear waters near the head spring

Florida Gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus) or a Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus). This one is about 3 feet long.

Florida Gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus) or a Spotted Gar (Lepisosteus oculatus). About 3 feet long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) getting a drink on a hot day

Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) getting a drink on a hot day

Rhesus macaque

Rhesus macaque

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Close up of Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)

Close up of Cardinal Flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gator meets Cooter

Gator meets Cooter

Little gator - about 3 foot. You can still see some yellow stripes on tail.

Little gator – about 3 foot. You can still see some yellow stripes on tail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Male and female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Male and female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Female Wood Duck with babies

Female Wood Duck with babies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Rainbow River – April 18, 2015

Martha on the Rainbow River

Martha on the Rainbow River

A nice little morning paddle on the Rainbow River today.  I took my friend Martha out there for her to try out different paddles and practice strokes.  Martha is 79 and is getting into kayaking.  I hope I can still paddle at 79!  

 

 

 

Lots of people – paddlers and tubers – out on the river on Saturdays, enjoying the cool water and warm sun, so fewer animal pics.  Wood Ducks with babies, Ibis, cooters sunning, Anhinga, etc.  And a bunch of swamp roses along Gissy Spring run.

Male Wood Duck

Male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Male and female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Male and female Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)

Wood Duck baby

Wood Duck baby

Wood Duck babies

Wood Duck babies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooters hanging out at the head spring

Cooters hanging out at the head spring

Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) found along Gissy Spring run

Swamp Rose (Rosa palustris) found along Gissy Spring run

Ocklawaha River – April 15, 2015

We had a good paddle today on the Ocklawaha River, from Ray Wayside to Gores Landing, approximately 10.5 miles as the kayak paddles.  It was overcast, threatening rain all day, but we didn’t get a drop.  We saw more gators than we ever have before on this stretch, perhaps because of the weather.  Mostly young ones in the 4-6 foot range with 1 little guy, about 3 feet, still with yellow stripes on his tail.

We also ran across a mass of Lubber grasshoppers on some lily leaves.  There must have been about 200 of them chowing down, all about 1 inch in body length.  The black ones we recognized right away as young Lubbers.  The khaki colored ones it turns out are simply an older morph or instar.  The adult Lubber is about 3 inches long, tan with red stripes, and is a common garden pest in Florida, descending like the biblical locusts and devouring everything in reach.  The Lubber’s only natural predator is the Loggerhead Shrike, a cool little bird that decapitates them and then impales their carcasses on thorns or barbed-wire fences so the sun can bake out the toxins before mealtime.

We also watched some Limpkins for a while.  It gets its name because it seems to limp along while probing the mud for food.  The Florida peninsula is about as far north as you will see Limpkin.  Limpkins are cool because they live almost exclusively on apple snails.  Both the native apple snails (Pomacea paludosa) and the 3 invasive species.  The Limpkin’s bill has evolved for foraging on apple snails.  The closed bill has a gap just in front of the tip so the bill acts like tweezers to pull the snail from its shell.  The tip is curved slightly to the right so it can be slipped into the right-handed chamber of the snail.

A few other bird seen – Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Pileated Woodpecker, and a Great Horned Owl.  And loads of dragon and damselflies.

We also one Rhesus monkey – mother with tiny baby – who disappeared into the trees before anyone could even raise their camera.

The Ocklawaha River near Gores Landing

The Ocklawaha River near Gores Landing

Passing under the high-rise State Rd 40 bridge. It was built this high for the Cross-Florida Barge Canal.

Passing under the high-rise State Rd 40 bridge. It was built this high for the Cross-Florida Barge Canal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) foraging along the water's edge.

Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea) foraging along the water’s edge.

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) showing off the beautiful white plume

 

 

 

 

 

 

String or Swamp Lily String Lily (Crinum americanum) which is really not a lily at all but an Amaryllis.

String or Swamp Lily String Lily (Crinum americanum) which is really not a lily at all but an Amaryllis.

Lubber grasshopper (Romalea guttata), several instars on one plant

Lubber grasshopper (Romalea guttata), several instars on one plant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) eating a snail

A Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) eating a snail

A big ol' gator snoozing in the weeds - 8-9 feet and very well-fed

A big ol’ gator snoozing in the weeds – 8-9 feet and very well-fed