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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chassahowitzka River

Otter in The Chaz
This Saturday, April 2nd, we kayaked the Chassahowitzka River. It was between Haulover Canal and this river. I wanted to paddle a new place so to West Florida we went. The Chassahowitzka River is located in Homossasa, Citrus County and is a spring fed river. Click on this link for a map of this gem. The Chaz

Put In/ Take Out: The Chaz is 2 hours and 20 minutes drive from home. We arrived at the Chassahowitzka Campground at 10:20AM to a pretty crowded, mostly trailers, parking lot. Paid the $3.00 fee at the campground store and were in the water at 10:35. Here is the address to the Chassahowitzka Campground: 8600 W. Miss Maggie Drive,Homosassa, Fl.


Great Blue Heron's Nest
 We headed East but a tree caught our attention because two Great Blue Heron's nests were on it. We had seen a few nests lately and is always a nice thing to see and wifey loves it. Spent a few minutes taking pics there and then changed our plan to go East because the crowd going that way. Also we wanted to see manatees, dolphins, and eagles and I thought we had better chances going down river. The plan was to go down as long as we could and then explore one or two creeks on our way up. The Chaz has several tributaries and it makes this paddle a very exciting one. We did paddle to a spring close to the put in but did not go all the way there because three kayaks were already there with people in the water as well.

  
Feeding Otter
 Three canoes went down river as we did. On two of them their occupants were as annoying as some people can be. Screaming all the way down. I asked wifey to stop paddling to let them go way ahead of us. The ladies in the other canoe did the same. There is one spot where two small islands split the river. To the left that is motor boat territory. To the right is shallow and better for kayakers. We did go right and it was a good decission. A feeding otter put a show for us without any fear. I cannot remember a paddling trip with so many nice otter pics. While wifey had a blast with the otter another one showed up a few meters from us but swam away. We stayed with the one closer to us that behaved very nice for several minutes. After it was done just looked and us and left. Here are some pics of wildlife we saw in that little detour we took from the main river.
 

Otter
 
Otter


Tri Colored Heron
 





 












Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Cardinal


Inmature Little Blue Heron

Little gator(the only one we saw)


Gray Catbird


















Tiny gator after a tri colored and a little blue heron
 One thing that helps to keep my wife happy when we are paddling is the wildlife. She would paddle from here to the eternity as long as she has something to shoot pics at. Up to this point she was OK. We saw a small creek and entered it to explore. There we saw our first and only gator of the trip. A very tiny one  that took a swing to a juvenile little blue and a tri colored heron wading near it. It was very cool for us to see how the little fellow pursued the two birds who were too fast for it. But after this area the wildlife was not there. No dolphins, no manatees and no eagles and lots of motor boats, even a jet ski was in the river. Somehow I was able to convince my wife to go all the way to an island near the Chassahowitzka Nature Wildlife Refuge sign, Big Gator, according to the map they gave me at the store. There we took the left lane since the right one had an Air Boat Route Sign. There we saw a bird that we had never seen before. A King Rail. Here is a pic.

King Rail



Juvenile Bald Eagle
 After this we started our travel up river. The wind was in our back so it was not that bad after all. I was dissapointed because did not see any of what we came here to see, manatees, dolphins and eagles. Several belted kingfishers tested our patience on our way up. We did not get good pics of any. We also stopped near an osprey nest where Mom and Dad were present. It looked like a domestic dispute was going on. There is a creek that is named Potter's Creek and I asked wifey to explore it. Paddling near the North side of the river, heading to the creek, I spotted a large bird in a dead tree across the river. Too far to identify it asked wifey to use the camera lens to take a closer look. She was not able to tell but I was hoping for an eagle. As we moved closer it was clear the was not a vulture and I was excited. Finally we came close enough to ID it and was a juvenile bald eagle. One down, two to go. After a few pics the eagle left flying to the West. Bummer!!!! But it was very nice. After that we crossed the river back to Potter's Creek where we did not see too much wildlife. Only a red bellied woodpecker and a mature little blue heron.


Osprey Domestic dispute


House in the spring
 After Potter's Creek explored another small creek that I think leads to a spring that is called The Crack. Did not make it all the way there because there was too much traffic in the creek. A young man had a pit bull dog in his kayak and it was uneasy. It scared me a bit and decided that did not worth the risk so turned around. There will be more trips to The Chaz. Near the put in / take out spot there is another small spring we explored. I am not sure but according to the map it is Crab Creek Spring. There are a couple of really nice houses near the spring. Daaaaaaang. I wonder the value of that place. It is not a mansion but the location is perfect. Out of my budget anyways have to admit.

Our paddling trip ended shortly after 3:45PM. We did not see all we came to see. My expectations were really high and after the paddle felt dissapointed. Looking back now and realizing all the wildlife we saw, have to say it was a good day. Next time it is a goal to come early and to completely explore at least one of the many creeks feeding the river. Here are more pics of what we saw.
Cormorant


Belted Kingfisher

Osprey Flying


Juvenile Bald Eagle in flight

Red Bellied Woodpecker

Little Blue Heron

Turtle

Coot

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron's nests




Juvenile little blue and tri colored heron




Osprey's nest

For more pics please click on this link: Chassahowitzka River

See you next week...

2 comments:

  1. Nice pics of the otter. Can't wait to try this river.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks. Glad you liked them. Try The Chaz, you will enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete