Monthly Archives: December 2015

Ocklawaha River – December 30, 2015

Another trip on the Ocklawaha River yesterday on a quest for hidden springs exposed now by the draw-down on Rodman Reservoir.  Only found one, but it was a knockout.  Loads of birds – especially Little Blue Heron and Great Blue Heron – and lots of gators.

14.5 paddling miles to do less than 12 river miles.  With the water lowered 7-8 feet it’s a maze of floating and rooted vegetation.

We paddled from Eureka West ramp to the temporary ramp at Orange Springs.  The ramp at Eureka West is very nice with a circular drive and picnic table in the middle.  But the ramp itself is very, very slippery.  Be careful getting in and out of your kayak there.  The temporary setup at Orange Springs is simply a bull-dozed and compacted peninsula created to provide a boat launch area during the draw-down when  the regular ramp in the park is high and dry.  We found several places to land at the end of the man-made peninsula, although some areas are muddier than others.

Lunch break at Cannon Spring

Lunch break at Cannon Spring

Cannon spring showing strong flow

Cannon spring showing strong flow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannon Spring

Cannon Spring

Cannon spring with fishies

Cannon Spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little gator - about 4 feet

A little gator – about 4 feet

A medium sized gator - about 6 feet

A medium sized gator – about 6 feet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)

Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)

 

Silver River – December 16, 2015

For my Wednesday kayak trip today – on Monday I had 13 people signed up (my limit).  By 10 pm Tuesday night all but 2 of them had cancelled because rain showers (not thunderstorms, just 20-30% chance of showers) were predicted for the morning.

Well, the 3 of us had an absolutely beautiful day paddling the Silver River!  Temps in the upper 70s, no wind, calm water, blue skies and sunshine.  Lots of gators, cooters and monkeys.  One of my best paddles on the Silver River ever!

I really wish ostensibly “outdoor” people would learn that in Florida if you stay at home whenever rain is predicted you will rarely get outside.  And usually the forecast is wrong! It’s really hard to predict the weather while surrounded on 3 sides by water.

We paddled from Silver Springs State Park launch down to the Ray Wayside County Park launch.  Nice hand launches at both sites.

Paddling down the Ft King Canoe trail.

Paddling down the Ft King Canoe trail.

Ghosting down the Silver River with Great Egrets overhead.

Ghosting down the Silver River with Great Egrets overhead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The weather was so nice we could even see the statues in the head spring which can only be seen when there is no wind, there has been no rain for a few days and the sun shines into the spring.  Placed in the water attraction for the filming of an episode of the TV series “I Spy” there were originally 12 statues of Greek gods.  Today only 3 statues remain.

Statues on the bottom of the head spring.

Statues on the bottom of the head spring.

Strap-leaf Sagittaria (Sagittaria kurziana)

Strap-leaf Sagittaria – a submersive plant that floats on the surface of the river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Egret (Ardea alba) and American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) roosting in trees.

Great Egret (Ardea alba) and American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) roosting in trees.

Cooters sunning on a log.

Cooters sunning on a log.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little gator hiding in the vegetation - about 4 feet long

Little gator hiding in the vegetation – about 4 feet long

Young gator sunning - about 4 feet long

Young gator sunning – about 4 feet long

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for some monkey pics.  (Technically they are Rhesus macaques, but everyone around the Silver calls them monkeys.)  While watching a troop of them we saw something really cute. There were several little ones playing, after which they needed a drink.  Four of them came down to the water’s edge but one little guy apparently thought it was a little scary to lean out over the water to drink.  So he/she pulled grasses over to him/her and drank the drops off the leaves.

Little monkey getting a drink after playing hard.

Little monkey getting a drink after playing hard.

Tiny monkey afraid of the water so he sucked water off the leaves.

Tiny monkey afraid of the water so he sucked water off the leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young monkey eating a sour orange

Young monkey eating a sour orange

Little monkey checking out the kayaks.

Little monkey checking out the kayaks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later on the lower section of the river we got a little too close to another troop playing on the tree roots over the water and the male charged at us.  Not really scary since we were still about 20 feet away, but we backed off a bit and gave them a little more space.

Big male that charged us.

Big male that charged us.

Silver River – December 12, 2015

Great paddle on the Silver River today for the Florida Trail Association.  We always love the Silver because of the abundant and varied bird life.  Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, American White Ibis, Anhinga and Double-crested Cormorants are pretty standard.

Today we also saw Wood Stork, Limpkin, Green Heron and an immature Black-crowned Night Heron.  Also several gators in the 4-foot to 6-foot range and loads of Florida Cooters and a few Red-bellied turtles out basking in the 80 degree sunshine.  And the water in the head spring was so clear today we could easily see the Greek god statues on the bottom!

Old tour boat landing on the Ft King Canoe Trail

Old tour boat landing on the Ft King Canoe Trail

Statues in the Silver Springs head spring.

Statues in the Silver Springs head spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)

Immature American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

Immature American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Heron (Green Heron (Butorides virescens)

Green Heron (Green Heron (Butorides virescens)

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young gator in the weeds - about 3 feet

Little gator in vegetation – about 4 feet long

Sunning Cooters

Sunning Cooters

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Immature Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Immature Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)