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Friday, July 6, 2012

Econlockhatchee River

Bald Eagle

Osprey

Red Shouldered Hawk

Turned out that have two more flex Fridays so took advantage of one of them today and kayaked a river less than two miles from home. The Econlockhatchee is not a pic friendly river. There is not the wide variety of wildlife you would see at other places, like the Wekiva River, for example. But there is never a script when you go kayaking and, no doubt about that, there was not script this morning when I put in at the CR419 bridge over the Econ at 9:00AM. I was counting on seeing BIG GATORS in the banks. Maybe a couple of eagles and maybe something else. Well, the big kahunas were nowhere to be seeing but the eagles, they were out. Five eagles sightings, or maybe the same eagle five different times. Who cares anyways? It was a great day at the Econ. Whenever you are able to see the three members of the Florida Air Force, eagle, hawk, and osprey, it has to be a good day.

Typical Econlockhatchee River scene...a gator lurks, hiding in the reeds.

Put In / Take Out: This time the put in and take out locations are different. Wifey left me this morning at the CR419 bridge over the Econ and picked me up at the Snow Hill Rd bridge, 8 miles down river.

Juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk

The one and only turtle seeing during this paddle.
Started my paddle down the Econ at 9:00AM. A large group of paddlers were lining up under the bridge and more arriving at the parking spots. I know how it goes when large groups get into the water. People cannot stop talking and if you are behind them chances are you are not going to see a thing. The Econlockhatchee offers challenges to see wildlife. For some reason the wading birds are not abundant and the high banks also limit the view. To make things worst, even the Great Blue Herons are skittish here in the Econ. A huge group of paddlers talking as they go will not improve the chances to see and take wildlife pics. Luckily for me was able to beat them out of the gate. Decided to put distance as fast as possible and for the first 15 minutes did not stop paddling, until saw a couple of Juvenile Red Shouldered Hawks. Not a bad start. After I was done with the hawks pics resumed my fast paddling pace, fearing the large group was going to catch me at any moment.

Great Blue Heron

Econlockhatchee River gator
When you kayak the Econ you can count on seeing gators. But it is better if you see BIG GATORS at the sandy banks. Only thing is that you have to be ready since they will come back to the river in a hurry, most of the times. This time I was ready. Oh heck of yeah ready. At every bend I had my camera on hand ready to catch the moment one of the Big Kahunas hurried back to the water. It did not work. I guess it was too hot even for the gators to be in the banks. Had to take a break from the Sun and stopped at a beach for 15 minutes. Then continued my trip, always scouting the tree tops looking for eagles. Saw several gators in the river that went under as soon as they sensed me. Only a few of them gave me enough time to shoot some pics, which was somehow frustrating because I was trying a stealth approach. About this last thing that I mentioned, the stealth approach, had to say it worked very good in a one occasion. There was a moment that it looks like my kayak hit a gator because all I felt was a bump and them a tail came out of the water making a big splash. That was the end of the silent approach. Startling a gator, no matter its size, is never part of the plan.

Econlockhatchee River scene

The idea of  looking for eagles at the tree tops almost burned me. Was doing just that when saw a shadow in  a low branch of a tree. It was an eagle, the first of a few eagle sightings during this trip. Was busy taking pics of the eagle and fighting the current, which was faster than I can remember in this part of the river, when heard voices coming and so did the eagle that left the tree. It was an armada of kayaks, the large group I was trying to avoid. They caught me at an area where the river makes a Y. I know by experience the the right is the main canal but for some reason they took the left leg. Maybe they were exploring. Let them go, took the right leg and as soon as I resumed the paddling spotted another bald eagle. Nice!!!


Bald Eagle

There are not too many more things to say about this trip other than it was hot as you can imagine. Also, and this is not the first time this happens in the Econlockhatchee, there were a huge number of small catfish dead. At some areas, where they get stucked by stumps and debris the stench is terrible. So if you are planning to kayak here this weekend be ready for that. The water level is ok, did not have any problem with portages and only at one sandy area had to push. There are many toppled trees but they are not a complete block. The river is passable. That being said let me shut up and share more pics of what I saw at the Econ today...

Juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk

Juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk

Juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk

Juvenile Red Shouldered Hawk

Lurking gator eyes

Great Blue Heron

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Osprey

Osprey at lunch time

Eagle's nest 

Econ gator

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Little Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Vulture...what the heck. They were by the dozen so let us include them as well

Gator

Red Shouldered Hawk

Some scenes of the Econlockhatchee...

Econlockhatchee River

Econlockhatchee River

Ecolockhatchee River

Erosion on the river

Flagler Trail Bridge...took an extra 20 minutes break there.

And that is it for this one. Thanks for reading and hope you come back so we can share more of the Views From Our Kayak.


Econlockhatchee River




9 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Lovely pictures as always.
    Luis, this is the group you saw at the launch--you should join:
    http://www.meetup.com/adventuresinflorida/
    There is no obligation, no fee. They are a very active group, nice folks, but if you are mostly a solitary paddler, it is helpful to know where they are going, so you can get on the stream ahead of them, or plan for another day. I know how disappointing it can be to have a socializing group spoil your photo ops, not to mention your quiet solitude. On the other hand, it is sometimes fun to paddle with a congenial group, and this group is the best.

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    1. Thanks for the link. Just checked their site. Very active group indeed. A little too fast for me. I am an ultra slow paddler, they were going very fast. It is very nice to know where they are going to be for future trips so I am not in their way.

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  3. Luis, those are some great shots. Your photos should be in a book or magazine somewhere.

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    1. Thanks Robbie. Glad you think that.

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  4. Beautiful Eagle pics.. always challenging to photograph from a kayak.. Also loved relfective turtle : -) Will keep this river in mind next time I am in FL..

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    1. Thanks Cindy. Try to kayak the Econlockhatchee on your next trip to the South and expect the unexpected there. It is that interesting.

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  5. The Econ is really close to my house, too. I really need to get past this gator fear of mine, that river looks amazing. Awesome pics, as usual.

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    1. The river is truly amazing. About the gator fear...shhhhhh....that makes two of us.

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