I finally made it back out on the water today, opting for something closer to our side of Tallahassee than what I've previously done. Lake Talquin (so named for Tallahassee and Quincy) was formed when the Ochlockonee River (pronounced ok-LOK-uh-nee) was dammed, and is thus fed by the river at one extremity, and drained at the other, roughly 15 miles SW. I launched from the quiet public ramp at Coe Landing Rd, about twenty minutes from home, and paddled E toward the river. The most interesting thing about this paddle is that in the space of six miles you're in a lake, a freshwater marsh (where the river opens into the lake), and a blackwater river. I poked through the marshy area (good birding) into the river and went up to the bridge where US 90 crosses, which is about 6 miles upstream from the launch at Coe Landing. I wondered briefly if I would have a hard time getting back through the marsh to the lake, as there are myriad ways of doing it and it's easy to get disoriented (follow the current), but it was no problem. The banks often consist of white sand, but there aren't many places to stop and get out, as they're either high or overgrown with vegetation. The plants in this area are a blend between tropical (palm, palmetto, huge leaved things) and what I was used to in SE NC (pine, cypress, cedar), which is interesting. I saw two small gators and one very large one. As for birds, there were anhinga, cormorant, great blue heron, little blue heron (adult and juvenile), great egret, green heron, osprey, some hawks that circled like vultures (I've got to learn my buteos), white ibis, florida gallinule (common moorhen), and others. There were lots of very large osprey (or maybe even bald eagle) nests in the marshy section worth checking again in the spring. All told I covered twelve miles out and back in about 4 hours.
One of the little guys