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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Haulover Canal - PM Edition

Reddish Egret feeding the chicks

Great Blue Heron - Mullet Head Island
It was a late decision. I invited wifey to Haulover Canal when the clock was showing 3:00PM. At 4PM we were in the water. A short but very exciting paddle at one of our favorite places. I mean; how many things can happen to you in a little less than 3 hours? Let me see...Maybe a pair of mating manatees can swim by your kayak and give you a ride and left you all wet from a huge splash. Most likely a dolphin will give you the pic chance of your life swimming close to your yak, so close that you can almost touch it if you extend your hand. Or maybe you can get caught in the rain and finish your paddle in a hurry and then, to finish, you can be in the middle of a wildfire. Never a dull moment. That without mentioning the wind changing speed and turning a light chop in a pain in the eye chop. But hey!!!! Am not complaining. Had a heck of a time in the water, and almost ON the water.

Mullet Head Island Scene - Brown Pelicans and Roseate Spoonbill

Put In / Take Out: Please check previous posts for Put In and Take Out information. We always use the same location. General description would be the end of a dirt road just northwest of the draw bridge over Haulover Canal.

Dolphin at the Indian River

Osprey takes dinner home
We started our paddle in the waters of the Indian River, the West end of Haulover Canal(Mosquito Lagoon is in the East end). Headed West to circle Mullet Head Island, a bird sanctuary. It is not permitted to land on the island, that was really busy during our visit. It was very hard to shoot a pic of a just a bird since there were many species together all over the place. My wife was like a little girl in a doll store. It was nice to see her relaxing and enjoying the time after a tough week. As we always do, started at the southeast end of the island moving counterclockwise. A nice breeze was coming from the east at the moment but a gray cloud covered the Sun for several minutes. I did not put too much importance into it, thinking that there was no way it was going to rain. Maybe I should quit my job and start a career as a meteorologist. I did as well as they do predicting the weather(sarcasm involved).

A Female Red Breasted Merganser (if someone can confirm this ID will be appreciated)

I am taking a shortcut with this one and you will probably like it. Here are the pics of what we saw at the half of Mullet Head Island. I say the half because the wind shifted and picked up very fast, this time coming from the South. Looking for some shelter went back to Haulover Canal the same way we came in, leaving half of the bird sanctuary behind us.

Brown Pelican


Mullet Head Island bird gathering - How many species do you see?

Reddish Egret

Tri-Colored Heron

Juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron

Two for one - Tri-Colored Heron and Reddish Egret

Roseate Spoonbills flying formation

Double feature - Reddish Egret and a Roseate Spoonbill (Spoonie)

Brown Pelicans nesting

Mullet Head Island view - Spoonies, Snowy egrets and more

Snowy Egret

Royal Tern


White Pelican


Feeding time - Reddish Egret feeds a chcik

Reddish Egrets - The chick is at the right of the pic.

Roseate Spoonbills - A chick and andult

Roseate Spoonbill feeds a chick

Great Egret

Juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron

Birds Tree - Spoonies and Ibis

Brown Pelicans nesting

Brown Pelican

After a bumpy and wet paddle back to the canal area we decided to also skip the alternate entrance to Haulover Canal (an alternate route South of it) and entered it thru the main channel. It was there were we saw the Female Red Breasted Merganser we showed you in one of the previous pics. I spotted a dolphin at what is called Dolphin Cove, where the alternate route finally brings you back to the canal. It was a cool experience because the dolphin was hunting and put a show for us. Also, at one point made several passes very close to our kayak. One of those passes was as close as 3 feet from the yak. It was awesome!!!. Let me shut up and show you the pics...

Speedy dolphin - Just want to show you how fast it can move. Can you see the fin?

Dolphin at Dolphin Cove

Dolphin Cove dolphin


Dolphin comes close to the kayak

Very close to the kayak

After the dolphin experience we moved to Bair's Cove to look for manatees. Before entering the area it was obvious there were manatees present as a mating pair was being too splashy. We kept our distance and a couple of manatees came close to our kayak. We have found they will usually come to you if you stay still and do not harass them. It worked again as they were very curious and friendly. They even pushed us around. At one point, and that was my fault as I am supposed to be watching while my wife takes pics, the mating pair came too close to us. So close that gave us a lift and left me soak and wet from a huge splash. I took the worst part of it. Just glad we did not end on the water since my wife would kill me if that happens. Anyways, here are the pics of the manatees.

Mating Manatees

Curious manatees

Manatee checks our kayak

Again the mating pair

Is it giving us the...flipper?

Manatee upside down


Good bye dudes

It started to rain very hard while we were at Bair's Cove so we cut it short. We did not mind since we had such a good time. Not even after having to turn around and exit the area thru the North side of the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge because a wildfire. It was impressive.


Fish and Wildlife agents fight the fire

So...that it for this one. Sorry for the delay. Check this link for pics of this and past trips to Haulover Canal. Thanks for reading and hope you come back to share with you more Views From Our Kayak.

Mullet Head Island


  1. Between you and Dave I'm completely inspired and completely jealous. Beautiful shots!

  2. Luis, when I mentioned I was thinking of going to Haulover, Tuesday, it as before I saw this.

    Now, I'm there. Weather permitting.

  3. This afternoon, while paddling past the aviary on the west side of Mullet Head, I thought, can't wait to get home to see Mary's photos. You two make a great team. I also wondered why the road past Blackpoint Wildlife Drive was closed. I assume the fire is out, I did not smell it.

  4. Love the pics of the reddish egrets feeding their chicks. Luis, I'm glad your wife didn't have to kill you--I would miss your blog!
    Can't wait to paddle that area next week. If I weren't already planning a trip, I'd be planning one now after seeing your pictures and Dave's.