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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lower Wekiva River - Katie's Landings

Lower Wekiva River Otter

It was one of those days when nothing seems to be working out. You have to do your best under the circumstances. I did try. The opening pic is not the best one for this paddle but it has been a while since the last time I was able to get a decent pic of an otter. If my memory does not play me a trick, is the first one on the ground from the kayak. So that is the opening for this trip.

Carolina Wren greeted me at Katie's Landings

Put In / Take Out: My favorite Put In location; Katie's Landings. Please check previous posts about this location for details.

Gator, a little one, in front of Katie's Landings

Started my paddle at 8:30 AM. Last night the forecast had a 60% chance of rain for this morning. I decided to check again in the morning before deciding to go or not. 10% was the chance until noon, when changed to 60% again so drove to Katie's. As usual explored the lagoon in front of the put in under a cloudy sky and an annoying breeze from the North. Decided not to go too far and to take my sweet time exploring, always watching the sky and my watch.


Sandhill Crane in a nest

Sandhill Crane (closed eyes)

Red Shouldered Hawk

Red Shouldered Hawk

Great Egret

Ibis and Juvenile Little Blue Heron


Immature Little Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron's nest

Pushed my way through the West side of the island downstream from Katie's. I like that area better since there are no houses around, is wilder, and usually see more wildlife than in the East side. Seriously, I need to stop doing this. Details ahead. is what I saw in that area...

Green Heron dancing Thriller!!!!

Cause this is Thriller...Thriller at night...And no one gonna save you from the beast about to strike


Exiting the island area saw movement in another small island that splits the Wekiva River. It was an otter. Sadly for me it stayed deep in the shadows and there was no good lighting anyways. Did all I could, wait for it to move to a better spot. Nothing. It just stay put and then left to hide somewhere. Paddled around the island twice but did not see it again.

River Otter


Little Blue Heron


Little Blue Heron

Did paddle past Wekiva Haven and thought about returning because it was turning ugly by the second. But waited a bit more, until reached the first opening of the Wekiva River like half a mile (maybe less) downstream from there(Wekiva Haven). At that time the wind was not annoying but a nuisance. A big tree limb fell to the river 30 ft in front of me. It was time to go back. This time did not look for the otter but used the same route used on my way down river: West of the island. But stopped when saw a snake sunning, if you want to say that, on a tree. At the moment I am writing this do not know if it is a water moccasin or a water banded snake. I have a bad feeling about this one and came very close to it. But ignorance sometimes is a bliss. This is what I saw on that time around...

Unknown snake on a tree

Pupils seem to be oval, which is not a good sign. I came awfully close to it.


Great Blue Heron's Nest activity

Great Blue Heron's chicks

Pushed my way again out of the area. A medium sized gator gave me a huge scare, like I needed more adrenaline after coming close to the snake. It was hiding in the vegetation and did not see it. May not do that again. Kept paddling upstream from Katie's Landings. Even though it was cloudy it did not look it was going to rain anytime soon...

Great Blue Heron

Sandhill Cranes's nest. This time the with both parents

Male Anhinga

Female Anhinga

Little gator

Another little gator.



Part of the reason I kept paddling was the hope to see an Eagle or maybe Swallow-Tailed Kites in that part of the river. It is wide, open, an ideal scenario to admire an eagle flyover or perched, as I saw one on a previous trip. No eagle but did see the Swallow-Tailed Kites. There was not too much I was able to to with the boring gray sky as a background so the pics are not a reason to call home about. Will share them anyways...

Swallow-Tailed Kite

Swallow-Tailed Kite

Swallow-Tailed Kite in a dive. The next pic shows how they can twist their body 180 degrees

Swallow-Tailed Kite in a dive. Second time I see the body twisting during a dive.

This one seems to be eating while flying

Another Swallow-Tailed Kite showed up and swept the tree tops, coming back and grabbing something from one of them...

Swallow-Tailed Kite

Swallow-Tailed Kite

Then joined two other kites performing what I called, poetry in motion...

Swallow-Tailed Kites dance

After the show turned around and headed back to Katie's, shooting a few more pics on my way down...

Moorhen family

Juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron

Unknown bird

Wekiva River section between Katie's and the Hwy 46 bridge (looking South)

And this is it. A very short but entertaining paddle on a Central Florida jewel and one of my favorite places. Do not forget to check our Facebook page and Like us, if you really like the page. Thanks for reading and hope you come back for the next Views From Our Kayak.

Lower Wekiva River


  1. The kite pictures are fantastic

  2. Pics are all very good. I agree with Dave the kite pics are great.
    Arrow shaped head on the sign was a give away, blunt tail, stocky body, usually equals moccasin. Yep, looked too close to me.
    I think your unknown bird looks like a brown thrasher. Thanks for sharing. Sometimes the short paddles are the best.

  3. GREAT Carolina wren picture with her tail up! Also the kite pictures are fantastic.

    The snake is a Brown Water Snake. The pupils are round, not slitted. My FB album today has both Brown Water Snake and Cottonmouth for comparison.

  4. Just read Joannes comment- I was going to say, it looks like a diamond back water snake.... I'd still be freaked out, lol.

  5. Joanne, thanks for the information. I feel a little bit better now. I thought about you when saw the snake in the tree. I bet you would have said it is beautiful.

    Wendy, shall we start a club? Freaked Out By Snakes :)

  6. I was telling someone the other day that I'm much more intimidated by the idea of snakes when I'm in the water than by seeing gators so - yes-... count me in. :)