Wonderful trip on the Silver River on a warm but cloudy Sunday. I was invited by a friend who also brought 2 other friends. So 4 not-so-young ladies in kayaks enjoying the river and the wildlife. And that’s what we did, just enjoyed the wildlife. We paddled 6.1 miles in 5 hours, so you know we spent more time seeing and taking pics than paddling!
The Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) and the Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) are nesting on the rookery island near the head spring. The cloudy sky was doing it’s best to fool with my camera so the shots are not great, but the fluffy cream-colored Anhinga babies are so cute.
We saw many Cooters out sunning on logs. I can’t tell Cooters apart except usually the Red-bellied (Pseudemys nelsoni).
And of course a few gators were out as well. We passed one big mamma gator on the Ft King Paddling Trail standing guard with a bunch of little gators (probably last year’s hatchlings) in the vegetation behind her. Plus we saw a few other gators in the 3- to 6-foot range.
The Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) were out in force, many of them swimming in pairs, but I didn’t see any babies on this trip. I’ll have to go back in a couple of weeks.
We saw several White Ibis (Eudocimus albus), including one with the deep red beak and legs indicating the breeding season.
And we saw what seemed an unusual number of immature Little Blue Herons (Egretta caerulea), just starting to transition from their white feathers into the adult blue plumage.
Here’s a sampling of the other birds we saw.
And of course, you can rarely paddle the Silver on a warm day without seeing the monkeys. I especially liked watching these two sleepy heads.
Last, but not least, we saw a couple of snakes sunning on logs over the river. One was a non-venomous Brown Water Snake the other was a venomous Cottonmouth (aka Water Moccasin). Both are found in and around water, both are rather thick brown snakes with lighter colored bellies, both are common throughout Florida, both have a rather triangular looking head when flattened out, and both get darker with age, their markings getting harder to distinguish. Can you tell which one is which?