Thursday, September 25, 2014

Whipping Awound on the Water

On Sunday morning Janice and I impulsively decided to meet up for a paddle at our local Lake Fred. It was a beautiful day and likely to be one of the last days this year with temperatures over 80 degrees. I quickly ran to the barn, pulled out Big Red, and set off.
I was amazed to get to the parking lot and see so few cars. There had been suggestions of rain due later in the afternoon but I couldn't think of any other reason why people weren't enjoying the water on this beautiful day. Janice was later in getting there so I put in and just bobbed about with my feet in the water. Once she arrived I paddled nearer to the bank and was amazed to almost come face to face with a stunning white egret. Usually these birds will fly at the first disturbance but this one just stood and didn't seem too alarmed, allowing me to quickly take some photos. Even Janice could lean over the bank and see it.
We paddled up an inlet and started our usual routine of keeping close to the banks, looking for anything new we hadn't seen before, whether animal or vegetation.
A wooden crocodile about to climb on to the bank.
Turtles and deers were abundant today, everyone sunning themselves in the heat or enjoying the cool mud on the banks.
We noticed that the water had dropped dramatically and plenty of empty clam shells adorned the muddy banks.
We spotted this young buck peering out through the shrubbery from his hiding place. Janice was much better positioned than me to photograph him and she got a superb shot of him looking right in to her lens. We had a hard time taking any photos because the wind had risen since we'd started paddling and whenever we wanted to stop and take a photo we found ourselves being blown away. It was very frustrating to say the least and I'm sure some of the animals must have got a kick out of our antics as we struggled to maintain composure while trying to constantly refocus our cameras, which most of the time were already zoomed in on our subjects, making focusing even harder.
We went around a corner and were delighted to come across our egret again, who was more than happy to pose and even put up with us having to constantly paddle back and forth as we battled the wind and wielded our cameras. We managed to get quite a few shots but it wasn't until we had left that I looked back and spotted the egret catching a minnow and gulping it down in one rapid movement. A missed photo, but not a missed moment.
Everyone was hanging out on the banks, it was like a day at the beach for the wildlife today. Everyone was just chilling by the water and soaking up the rays.
I was constantly looking out for the clam shells, I loved the way they glinted like jewels under the water, the sun constantly being caught by the pearlescent sheen. I also started noticing that some of the shells were still inhabited but out of the water, so promptly started a rescue mission, picking then up and moving them further down into deeper water.
We'd been extremely fortunate with our animal sightings but I remarked to Janice that we hadn't seen any blue herons yet, and then as soon as we turned a corner, there one stood, silent and morionless on the bank.
Once again we were very lucky in that she stood still and let us take photos instead of flying off with a raucous croak of indignation which is so commonly heard when disturbing these birds.. So once again, we battled with the wind while holding our cameras and managed to take some fair photos of our accommodating model. Eventually we had to give up. I was loudly cursing the wind and it seemed to be getting stronger as it pushed us away from the heron. She looked after us as we bobbed away and then slowly flapped across the lake to another bank.
Janice found what she thought was a golf club protruding from the mud so I encourage her to do a 'King Arthur' and pull it from the bank. We were both disappointed to discover that it was only a cheap broken fishing rod, so flimsy that it barely shows up in the photo.
The skies were darkening above us and small waves started rolling across the water. We spotted some kingfishers who were putting in a lot of noisy appearances but decided it would be best to head for the shore instead of following them. Some large drops of rain started falling, both Janice and I had thought it was water from our paddles, until we commented on it and realized the truth. We got the boats on our cars before it came down heavier, and finished the day with dinner and beer.

No comments: