Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Bird Spotting Paddle

On Saturday I spent the whole day watching TV or reading with my leg hoisted in the air and thankfully the swelling in my knee and foot subsided by late afternoon. But although it was nice to relax I was soon tired of it and had no intentions of cancelling my paddle with Janice on Sunday. I could still paddle and have my knee elevated on the outside of the boat. Once I got to the lake I found that this was easier said than done, and was actually quite uncomfortable so I had to put the leg back inside the boat and just kept an eye on it.
It was a lovely peaceful day on the lake with a low attendance of other folks so we were happy about that. It's always nice to have the place to ourselves and means we have more chances of seeing the wildlife. We weren't disappointed.
We had a wonderful sighting of a blue heron who proceeded to enchant us with a slow dance up a branch leaning out over the water. Some pretty neat leg movement with a couple of neck tucks followed by a slow graceful flap to get himself airborne and then he flew over to the other side of the lake without the customary angry squawk that usually accompanies a heron's departure.
A clump of pretty flowers that were snuggled under a fallen tree trunk. I'm pretty sure these possess the unusual name of the Naked Flowered Tick Trefoil.
We entered an inlet at the end of the lake where Janice spotted a female Green Heron in a fallen tree at the water's edge.
We were treated to another dance routine but this time it was a lot more elaborate and involved some wing displays. I think she was protecting a nearby nest of either eggs or chicks as she traipsed back and forth on the branches, holding her wings down as though injured, or hanging her head. We watched this for a few minutes then slowly and quietly paddled away, not wanting to distress her any further.
I can never resist the tree trunks sticking out of the water and made a beeline for them, slaloming in and out, trying to avoid any spiders' webs that might be strung across between them. Janice caught my stellar performance in a photo.
We were so lucky throughout this paddle with our sightings. The dragonflies were still very active and I managed to capture a couple of not very good shots, but we were most impressed with the number of times we saw green herons, male and female. And also kingfishers. We weren't too sure whether we were seeing the same birds each time or whether there were a few couples that had set up home at the lake. I'd like to think the latter. I never managed to get a photo of the kingfishers, they were too fast and I was too relaxed to want to follow them back and forth but it was lovely to see their metallic turquoise back shimmer past us with a cackling cry emitted every time they landed in a tree.
The weather was unusual today too. The sky was filled with stormy clouds against a bright blue sky and the sun would peek out between them as they rushed overhead. At times there was a wonderful brisk and cooling breeze and then the lake would be like glass as the air fell still. I took these opportunities to take some reflection photos, the clouds were so dramatic.
I also found a nice little blackberry clump by the edge so stopped for a sample. Yum!
I had been noticing on my way round that there were some fishing accessories left either bobbing on the water or caught in the trees, so I grabbed those when I saw them. The lure on the right has some mean hooks and I also took some lengths of fishing line back to shore for recycling.
I was very pleased to get out of Big Red at the end of our paddle with a leg that had not swollen or caused any pain. Back home after a refreshing shower I thrust the cushions back under it and finished the weekend in the same position as I'd started it, my leg elevated with 2 cats sitting next to me on the sofa.

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