Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Giant Turtle Shell

The unbearably hot weather has finally broken and it feels great outside. So this morning I paddled Wacissa headwaters. It was cool and overcast for the whole trip. Saw loads of birds like blue heron, little blue heron, great egret, snowy egret, tricolored heron, wood duck, white ibis, red shouldered hawk, common moorhen, kingfisher, and others. A family of river otter let me sneak up on them (to about 20'). When they finally noticed me they all stood up on their haunches and made a weird sort of coughing noise at me, then disappeared. I poked into several of the smaller springs on the E side of the river, so I saw about 5 in all, including Big Blue. Along one of the spring runs I noticed something huge and white just under the water, which turned out to be a big sunbleached and completely denuded turtle carapace (about 16" long x 13" wide). It's now drying out on the picnic table out back. A wildlife officer busted three guys hunting from a boat for something, and there were some nice folks on the river from Tampa who are on their annual N FL paddling trip. They spoke highly of the Blackwater River and Ti Ti and Whiskey George creeks. Perhaps I'll see them soon.