Friday, October 29, 2010

Exploring Black Creek

We have a small, locally-made, fiberglass, keel-less canoe that is called a dory around here. We moved it around back to Black Creek so that I can take it out to paddle around and take photos. Black Creek is almost a lagoon except that it is feed by natural drainage from the surrounding marshes rather than being tidal seawater. It has a very gentle flow and feels more like a lake than a creek.

The brackish water is a dark tea-color from the tannins in the mangrove leaves that drop into the water. It is major nursery for tarpon and permit fish to mature from mere wee babes to juvenile fish large enough to head out to the open sea. Of course, not all of them make it out of childhood because the mangroves surrounding the creek are home to large numbers of egrets, herons, kingfishers, cormorants, anhingas, and osprey. Bird photos will come later, I promise.


I got up early a few days ago for a dawn paddle in Black Creek. 
It is so quiet and serene with no one else around. Quiet, that is, until a crocodile launches itself into the water with a big kersplash when I startled it out of its morning slumber. I didn’t get a good look at it, but based on the size of its head (about a foot long and 8-10 inches wide), I estimate it to be a smallish croc about 3 to 4 feet long. There are reliable sightings of a croc at least 15 feet long that resides in Black Creek. Suddenly, my dory feels pretty small and tippy.


As the morning grew late, I saw a cloud of white out the corner of my eye. I turned the dory around to see a flock of white birds wheel around the far, broad end of the creek. I managed to take some photos, hoping to see where they landed, but they flew off without landing.




Looking at the photos later, I could tell they were snowy egrets with their golden slippers. It is a bit of a challenge to take action shots with a long(ish) lens using a monopod in a keel-less canoe while adrift! But I am getting a little better at it and I haven’t tipped over yet. ;-) Which is a good thing considering the crocs …

7 comments:

  1. What a tranquil place that looks Wilma. But never mind the crocs, i'd hate to lose all the camera gear in the water :-)

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  2. To all who have left comments while we are on our trip - thank you for visiting and writing. I have internet access only infrequently, and it is slow at best. Please excuse me for not replying to each of you. I do appreciate the comments and knowing that somewhere out there folks are reading what I write. I actually wrote and loaded the last 4 posts at an internet cafe and set them to post at different times. I'll have more to come before we our trip is over.

    cheers,
    Wilma

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  3. Lovely images you have the captured the reflections of the trees in the water very well.

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  4. Wow that's a lovely place and a probably very nice area to observe wildlife... I guess you will get use to take pictures after a while and this might give you the opportunity to get close to quite interesting wildlife too as it is probably doing less noise than walking in a forest ;-)

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  5. A beautiful place and great photographs.
    Have a great weekend Wilma.
    Costas

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  6. That does look very serene and beautiful Wilma.
    I think I could spend hours just floating there.
    Not so sure about the crocs tho' lol

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  7. Warren - you have a point! :-) I did a test excursion before i went out with my gear. and even after that i took only one camera.

    Anthony - in the stillness of the mornings, the reflections are almost perfect.

    Chris - I did manage to get quite close to several birds. I look forward to sepnding more time out there and finding some spots to nestle the dory into to act as a hide. Lots of possibilities!

    Costas - thank you.

    Keith - it is easy to lose track of time out there. At least these crocs aren't like the aggressive salties in Australia.

    cheers to all,
    Wilma

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