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Friday, May 13, 2011

De Leon Springs - Spring Garden Creek


Òsprey
The plan for today, May Friday 13th (good thing we are not superstitious), was to kayak at De Leon Springs and Spring Garden Creek. Just to make things different, that is what we did. De Leon Springs is one of my favorites places. It offers lots of chances to take pics and in a good day you may see eagles, otters, manatees, gators, etc. Today we did not see eagles or manatees, but we saw a lot of wildlife. For more information about De Leon Springs please click on this link: De Leon Springs State Park

De Leon Springs State Park
Put In/ Take Out:The put in was the boat ramp area at the state park. There is an area just beside the ramp for kayak and canoe launch. I think the also rent pedal boats. I have seen it before but not today. The water is usually clear as it comes out of the spring area. Today, for some reason I do not know, it looked dark green. The put in was the take out too. We were in the water at 8:35AM.

A lonely cormorant welcomed us but as my wife was taking pics something at the other end of the small lagoon out of the spring caught her attention. She said that it was maybe an otter or a duck but that something was swimming there. She took one more pic of the cormorant and as we turn around we spotted two otters getting out of the water. "I told you" she said to me and shoot a three from right there, I mean...a long long long distance try for a pic. It came out pretty good but what was not good was the speech she gave me afterwards. She was not happy about missing the otters and she let me know it, right after we went after the otters and did not find them and for the rest of the trip. I was the villain of the story.

Red Shouldered Hawk
The water from the spring goes to what it is called the Spring Garden Lake and then goes to Lake Woodruff thru Spring Garden Creek. The bank to the South of Spring Garden Creek is part of the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. This is not our first trip to this place and this time it looked different. Usually there are small vegetation islands in Spring Garden Lake. Today that was not the case which made the trip to the creek more interesting. You see all the open space and think you can make it to the creek in a straight line but that is not the case. Most of this  area is shallow and methane comes out of the bottom. The smell it is not good and it is not fun to be there. Long story short we made it to the creek, where it was much better. A Red Shoulder Hawk was in a tree looking at the water and left as soon as we approached where it was.
Coots
Ospreys were very active today at the creek. We saw several flying and perching. Better than that, one of them put a show and did some fishing in front of us. It was pretty cool to see how it scans the water, the way it prepares for the dive and how fast it goes into the water. It goes head first and in the very last moment it positions the talons pointing to the water and SPLASH!!!!!!!!Very impressive. Wifey tried to capture the whole thing. Here it is...
Ready to strike....





Here it goes...


Splash!!!!!!!



Did You Know That? Ospreys mate for life, can travel up top 8 miles looking for food, and use 5 different calls to communicate. When an osprey catches a fish it carries it head first to help with the aerodynamics. Smart bird!!!!!!!!
Osprey
Great Blue Heron
We did not make it to Lake Woodruff today. We stopped at an area where a dock for a pontoon boat used to be. This is where a No Wake Zone starts. Took a 20 minutes break and started our return paddle to De Leon Springs. It was a nice day, as usual, at this place. Lots of gators, none of them sunning, and lots of wildlife. We even saw a racoon. Many Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, and song birds. One of the Great Blue Herons was having a snake for lunch. Lot of sunshine and heat too. Thank God we had plenty to drink because we did need it. We arrived at the springs and for the first time I did snorkel it. Have to say it was not as impressive as I expected but at least it was refreshing.

Here are more pics of what we saw today...
Green Heron



Red Shouldered Hawk

Limpkin



Limpkin

Moorhen

Great Egret

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Great Blue Heron

Coot

Gator

Gator

Anhinga

Great Egret

Racoon

Great Blue takes it to go

Flexible Cormorant
For a slide show with more pics of this ad past trips please click on this link: De Leon Springs'slide show

Thanks for reading and see you soon.

De Leon Springs outflow


3 comments:

  1. Love the osprey in action.

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  2. Beautiful pics. What kind of camera do you use?

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    Replies
    1. For this paddle we had a Canon Rebel T2i( I believe. Not sure. It was maybe our Olympus SP-800UZ)

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