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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hillsborough River

Today we kayaked at the Hillsborough River. It was our second trip to this beautiful place and, as in our first time, we came back home very satisfied with the experience. This is my second attemp to make and publish the post. It suddenly dissapeared when I was ready to publish it with all the pics and the modifications. Not fun. Anyways... Here we go again.

Roseate Spoonbill

Hillsborough River Scene

Put In/ Take Out: We put in at Trout Creek Park in Tampa. Hillsborough County has done a super job creating parks along the river, each one 4 miles apart from the other. The cost is $2.00. The next one up river is Morris Bridge Park and that was our turn around point. That was the route of our first trip  and I was really surprised my wife went for this one again. The paddling against the current was not of her liking. It was 12:30 when we put the yak in the river. Check this link for more information about the facilities along the Hillsborough River.

Hillsborough River gator

 The first section of the river is rich in wildlife. On our first trip here we were very satisfied with the view and this time was not different. There was plenty of wildlife to admire and to shoot pics at. Traffic on the river was not bad.  A couple of motor boats going very slow since it is a No Wake Zone. In this zone, between the put in and what is called the Nature’s Classroom we saw spoonbills, limpkins, ibis, great egrets, hawks, gators, vultures, and woodpeckers. The first time we paddled here saw a coyote and my photographer was hoping for it to happen again. You can only dream sometimes. It is free.
 The river was higher and a little bit slower than in our first time here. But that also gives the wading birds more room to look for food and we missed several chances of pics because the birds were too deep into the forest. It took an hour and 30 minutes for us to reach the end of the Nature’s Classroom but only because we took several pic stops. This section between the Nature’s Classroom and Morris Bridge Park is narrow most of the time. As I mentioned before, today the river was higher this time and it was a lot easier to paddle upstream, a huge difference from our first trip when my wife told me she was not paddling here never ever since it was low and fast. Never say never. The beauty of the river is worthy of the trip. Take my word on this one. Even when we did not have many pic chances we enjoyed the view. Had the chance to take pics of a midsize gator that looked like it was put there on purpose for the people to take pics of it. It was hard to miss it since Was right in front of us at one of the river bends.A pic friendly fellow. Looked at us like saying...Dude, take the pic and get lost. We did so.
Gator in the river bank


We arrived at Morris Bridge Park around 3:20, ate something and, at least I, stretched my legs and used the restrooms of the park. Mentioning this just to point that there are restrooms at every park along the river. Started our paddle back to Trout Creek at 3:45 and it was pretty smooth most of the time. We took a few pics here and there but nothing different from what we already had. One thing that was different on this trip was the amount of limpkins we saw. Several of them were in different sections of the river. We usually see one, two at the most, when we paddle in Central Florida, but that is not the case in the Hillsborough River. We arrived at the Nature’s Classroom area near 5:00 and then, again, took our sweet time shooting pics at the wildlife in this section. The first time we paddled here saw a coyote and were able to shoot pics. There was no coyote today but we saw something really cool. In a short span of the river we spotted 3 osprey nests. My wife’s was really excited. We have seen eagle’s, blue heron’, sandhill crane’s, and now osprey’s nest in our recent trips. At one of the nests Mr. and Mrs. Osprey were present. That kept us in the river more time than we expected.

Mr. & Mrs. Osprey at their nest

The yak was on top of our minivan at 6:10. I had time to clean it since there is a station with water to do that at Trout Creek Park. The only thing that I did not like is that we did not have time to explore Trout Creek, right in front of the park, and I have read reports of big gators that like to hang out there. Guess that it is the first thing we will do next time.
Here are more pics of what we saw at the Hillsborough River...

Classic Gator Pic



Great Blue Heron

Great Egret
Little Blue Heron
Pie-Billed Greebe

Black Crowned Night Heron

Madam Butterfly

Vultures at the Nature's Classroom


Roseate Spoonbill

Hillsborough River View

More pics from this and the prwvious one here...Hillsborough River Slideshow

That is all. See you soon!!!!

1 comment:

  1. You are now an official blogger, having suffered the disappearing post phenomenon.

    A tip from someone who has suffered that fate many times. I think it happens to me when I accidently hit the shift and ctrl keys at the same time. Poor design, if you ask me.