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 …