Silver River – October 12, 2016

We had one of our best paddles in a long time yesterday – the Silver really strutted her stuff for us!

We took 9 kayakers from the Florida Trail Association out on the Silver River, from Silver Springs State Park downstream to Ray Wayside County Park in Silver Springs, FL.   A part of what made this trip special was the congeniality of the group.  Everyone was having a good time, everyone just meshed, even though most had never met until reaching the boat launch.

Even though it was cloudy, and it even sprinkled on us for a few minutes a couple of times, the day was warm and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute. For one person it was her first time in a kayak. For several others it was their first time on the Silver and they all loved it.

Another part of what made this trip great was that everyone was happy to take their time and really see everything.  The trip is only a little over 5 miles with a good current, but we spent 5 hours on the water.  We poked into every cove and spent lots of time taking pictures.

And the third part of what made this trip great was the amount and diversity of wildlife.  We saw gators of all sizes, Cooters and Sliders sunning, all kinds of water birds and watched two different troops of monkeys playing in the trees. I even got a couple of little videos of one troop moving from one side of the river to the other using the overhead trees. I’ll put the monkey pics into a separate post later – I’m still editing them.

On the Ft King Canoe Trail, a narrow 1-mile alternate to the main river which is usually loaded with turtles and wildflowers.

On the Ft King Canoe Trail, a narrow 1-mile alternate to the main river which is usually loaded with turtles and wildflowers.

Ghosting down the stream from the boat launch to the head spring.

Ghosting down the stream from the boat launch to the head spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) ruffling his feathers as we come too close.

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) ruffling his feathers as we come too close.

Beautiful patterns on a sunning Cooter (Pseudemys spp)

Beautiful patterns on a sunning Cooter (Pseudemys spp)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) We usually see lots of females, but not too many males after the breeding season, so this guy was a treat.

Male Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) We usually see lots of females, but not too many males after the breeding season, so this guy was a treat.

Our biggest gator of the day - 7 or 8 feet - resting in the stream-side vegetation.

Our biggest gator of the day – 7 or 8 feet – resting in the stream-side vegetation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax). When he flew over us we couldn’t identify him and had to paddle back upstream to get a look. He was a VERY large Night Heron, biggest we have seen.

An always stately Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias).

An always stately Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Female Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) drying her wings with a couple of Cooters.

Female Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) drying her wings with a couple of Cooters.

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)

The American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) is frequently seen in large flocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Egret (Ardea alba) in a classic stance.

Great Egret (Ardea alba) in a classic stance.

Paddling down the lower Silver River, nearing Ray Wayside.

Paddling down the lower Silver River, nearing Ray Wayside Park.