Today’s post comes from yesterday’s kayak outing. After a fantastic morning of kayaking at my local conservation area, I decided to post a report of all the things seen. The weather report given the evening before was for “dense fog”. Whenever I hear these words, I start salivating, thinking about the potential images that can be made with the local wildlife in fog, at sunrise! I arose at 4:30am to assure I was able to launch the kayak ~30 minutes before sunrise. On my drive to the area, fog was definitely prevalent. However, when I pulled into the parking lot to unload, there was a bit of fog, but nothing I would consider “dense”. Nevertheless, I unloaded the kayak, placed my photo gear in it, and launched from the bank.
Immediately, I could tell it was going to be a good morning. Within one minute, I had a raccoon swimming across the creek right in front of me (but too dark to photograph). I continued on, weaving my way around all the downed trees that lie in the creek. About 10 minutes later, I arrived at one of my favorite spots … in front of the beaver lodge. As luck would have it, there were two juvenile beavers swimming about, with one of them getting out of the water at bank’s edge to cut down a small sapling. I took a couple of photos and a bit of video, but it was still on the dark side as we were still about 15 minutes from sunrise. And the “dense fog” was nowhere in sight! The beavers played around for a bit, so I continued to watch and enjoy them.
Shortly after sunrise, the beavers disappeared into their lodge. So I paddled on, to where I have been photographing several species of warblers. As I came to a stop, I very quickly saw 4 species of warblers, which I photographed for about an hour. I even had one Prothonotary Warbler that flew to an overhanging dead branch, right in front of the kayak, and began signing to me! After he finished his serenade, I caught some motion out of the corner of my eye and discovered a 2-foot Diamondback water snake a little further down the creekbed. I paddled over and photographed it for a few minutes, then returned to the warbler area. After a few minutes, I heard quite a noise above me. Looking up, I saw a turkey that had flown in and was resting atop a dead tree directly above me! A couple of quick photos of him, then back to the warblers.
A while later, the sun was beginning to get pretty harsh, so I decided to head back to the parking lot. On my way, I passed some green herons and then came upon some wood duck drakes that flew off. Looking to the side, I saw a wood duck hen with 9 ducklings. As Mom quickly led them away from me, I got a few shots, then headed to the parking lot, loaded up and headed back home. Quite a morning at the local conservation area! Here are a couple of images from yesterday morning:
Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) singing
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) ducklings following mom as she leads them away from me and into dense cover