14 December, 2021

Paddling in Black Creek/Lagoon

I really want to call it "Black Lagoon" instead of Black Creek; it sounds so much more exciting, bringing to mind images from the horror movie "The Creature from The Black Lagoon".  So henceforth I shall call it Black Lagoon!  It really is more of a lagoon than a creek anyway, since it is entirely sea water diluted somewhat intermittently by runoff from the surrounding swamp.  We even tested the salinity after a series of heavy rainfalls where 2 small streams feed into the lagoon and found that it was in sea water range.  We were hoping to have a source of fresh(ish) water for watering our vegetable garden during the dry season, but it is far too salty for that!

The fuchsia route into Black Lagoon.

I launched the kayak from the same spot as before, but this time I headed south, towards Little Monkey Cay.  I looped around the cay, which is a roost and/or breeding site for lots of sea and wading birds - brown pelicans, white ibises, cormorants, anhingas, green herons, white egrets, little blue herons, and great blue herons.  I learned recently that another name for Little Monkey Cay is Crown Cay.  Next time I am out there, I will try to get some good  bird photos.  I didn't get any this time because the light was against me.  

I turned into the entry to Black Lagoon and began a very leisurely paddle towards its north end.  
The narrow entry is just to the right of center.

Right at the mouth, I saw a great blue heron fishing from the prop root of a mangrove tree.  It flew off as I paddled closer.
Great Blue Heron,
The banks of the lagoon are lined with a mix of red, white, black, and button mangroves, with the red being predominant and right along the edge.
The lagoon widens just after the mouth.  The water is the color and clarity of black coffee due to the tannins leached out of the dead leaves in the swamp.

Flocks of immature little blue herons with their tie-dyed transitional mix of white and blue feathers scattered before me as I headed north.  A lovely green heron sat immobile as I went by, but it was too far away for my camera phone to do it justice.  The same with the immature white ibises.

Two small streams feed into the north end of the lagoon.  I paddled up each stream as far as I could.  The vegetation changes a little bit and the large white mangroves were more evident.

I love this white mangrove tree with its network of fat branches and massive prop roots  Each time I see it I want to climb it.  So far I haven't . . . .

Younger white mangroves with a tangle of prop roots hide lots of birds.

Perhaps you can spot the immature white ibis with its long, orange, decurved bill and lots of dark feathers remaining in its plumage at the center of the photo.  Also what I think is a snowy egret in the upper left quadrant. Or it could be a very juvenile little blue heron that still has all its white feathers.

As I made my way to our back landing where I ended this trip, I heard a squirrel cuckoo, lots of brown jays, kiskadees, and unidentifed birds and saw a bare-throated tiger heron.  I recently installed an app on my phone that identifies birds by sound (the Merlin App).  Next time I will be sure to have it running while I am out in Black Lagoon.

In all it was a 2.7mile trip and took about 2.5 hours because I kept a leisurely pace with lots of stops to appreciate the beauty.  Forgot to mention the trip to Great Monkey Cay and back was 2.9 miles. 


  1. Haven't seen the horror movie 'The Creature from Black Lagoon', but 'lagoon' sounds and looks nice. It seems you live in a sort of paradise with beautiful vegetation and birds(herons, jays,ibis,chickadees).
    Great photo of the lagoon!

    1. I haven't seen the movie either Duta. It was released in 1954, but is referred to quite often. Or used to be, anyway.

  2. You LIVE many a person’s dream vacation. Beautiful photos. (I probably would have photoshopped The Creature into a shot or two.)

    1. I should have photoshopped in a creature, Mitchell - good idea! Wish I had your skills. Once a big crocodile and I scared the bejesus out of each other. Probably qualifies as a creature.

  3. We used to live in Vermont, and a favorite summer hiking route took us past a small pool formed by a brook. Without fail there would be a Great Blue Heron perched on the bank hoping for a catch. Now wondering if it could have migrated from as far south as, say, Belize. A long distance to have flapped those big wings.

    1. That would be a lot of flapping. I think most of the great blues here are year round residents. I see them frequently, but it is a treat that I never tire of.

  4. I can only imagine how fabulous the birding would be in an area like that. I would have loved to have been with you. Brings back fond memories of similar areas I have visited in Costa Rica. I will follow your blog!

    1. Hi David! Happy to have you. The birding here is fabulous. Unfortunately my eyes are not as good as they used to be, so I wind up doing many of my IDs from photos I take on my phone - not the best way, but whatever it takes I suppose. I am looking forward to some good casual birding trips for January with a very experienced guide. Can't wait!


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