Category Archives: Kayaking

Paddlin’ around the lake

Creature Feature 2017 #5

Been a while since I had time for the camera, so here’s some catch-up.
The seasons have been changing while I was busy, but there’s still a lot going on out there, or even right here. This Red Fox visited my back yard the other day:

This morning started out foggy. And then it got a bit thicker (I was navigating by ear at one point):

I think these conditions meet most of the criteria to be called absolutely atrocious for photography, but I did manage to get a picture of our Bald Eagle flying in the fog (apparently flying VFR, but this is class G airspace):

The Spiders have been eating up other insects all summer, and fall is their time (looks like this area is decorated for Halloween, but I’m sure the Spiders don’t care about that):


This Killdeer was just across the water from the Spider enclave, and was being very vocal:

A few Turtles were out taking in some late-season sun:

Speaking about late-season, some fall flowers are out now:

Heading back down the lake, I spotted someone in the water:

Oh! Otters (don’t miss the two under the bank to the left)!

Obligatory Great Blue Heron picture:

Creature Feature 2017 #4

It seemed like things were pretty quiet around the lake this morning. We’re coming up on deep summer, the breeding season is winding down, and there’s plenty of food around. A good time to just sit back and relax a bit.

Humans, however, never seem to let up. I suppose if you mow hay on a hillside enough, a roll is bound to get away.

As I was working my way up the lake, I spotted a bird rather high up. From the size, I just assumed he was a Great Blue Heron, and tried to get a picture. A bird high up in the sky is a difficult photo target, because they’re small, and the bright sky can obscure any detail of the bird. Anyway, once I got a look at the picture, I wasn’t so sure about my identification.

A while later, as I was thinking I wasn’t going to see anything special today, I saw a large bird on the side of the lake, apparently well into brunch.

Ah, that’s what I saw up high, and yes, that was no Heron.

Yeah, a Bald Eagle, right here in Laurens County.

Creature Feature 2017 #2

One of my familiars stops by the back yard (where the food is, of course):

The Ospreys were very active, cavorting in the air and working on their nest on top of the intake structure:

This is kind of interesting because it shows how their tip flight feathers splay and curve up to act as [what human aircraft designers call] winglets:

Of course, Osprey were using winglets long before humans produced the first inkling of aerodynamic lift.

Got a good look at this Heron from across a little inlet, who also got a good look at me, naturally:

A bit later, paddling out of the inlet, I reached for my camera to get a few more pictures of the Ospreys overhead, when I heard a floof floof floof right behind my starboard side. The heron passed within a paddle’s-length of me.

Ducks were hangin’ out:

and it was a good day for the Turtles to be out getting some sun:

Whenever I’ve become very familiar seeing something from one angle, like the spillway from the lake side:

I always find it interesting when I suddenly get a look at it from the other side. I was wandering around the Lake Rabon park below the dam when I suddenly realized “OH… This is where the spillway spills out!”:

It didn’t look like it had been used in a long time. If there were leaves on the trees, you could easily miss it entirely.

Creature Feature 2016 #5

First, a few fall pictures of this living planet we have here. Cool mornings while the water is still relatively warm gives rise to early morning steam fog.


But once the sun starts to get up, the fog begins to dissipates and the sunlight makes the early fall colors stand out.

From the birds-eye view (if the bird is flying really high) the sun can make for some contrasting scenes and, combined with the wind, patterns on the water far below.

Now, back to the less-than-planet-sized creatures. I saw this large bird and grabbed the camera. I thought he was an Osprey, just because of the silhouette, size, and location, but I realized I was mistaken when I saw the photos.

Yes, that was the Bald Eagle. A bit later I found the Osprey, cavorting around the eastern side of the lake.


Have I mentioned how hard it is to get a good picture of a Kingfisher in action?

Nope, no Heron pictures this time. I saw a couple around, but maybe it was a bit early in the morning for them.
As usual, you can click on the pictures to get to a full-res version. I had to change photo sites because of problems with the previous one. Older pictures are still there, but henceforth anything new will probably end up on the new site.

Creature Feature 2016 #4

So much of our universe runs in cycles.

Some cycles are very artificial, of our own making. Like the workweek/weekend cycle, or election cycles (and that’s all I’ll say on that topic).

Some of these cycles are so short that we hardly notice. Like the day/night cycle. It happens every day, and we take it for granted.

Some cycles aren’t so regular. It rains, then the sun comes out, until it rains again, etc…

The lunar cycle is a bit longer, although if you’re not out much at night you might not notice. The tail end of a full moon is visible in the morning daylight.

Some cycles are so long that we might not even notice that there is a cycle going on. Haley’s Comet comes around every 75 or so years, making it a once-in-a-lifetime event, but still it’s a cycle. Clouds of gases collapse to form a star, that burns for a while, explodes into a cloud, that collapses… A cycle that probably no one is going to see in it’s entirety.

This time of year the season cycle is very much in evidence. The lake is noticeably quieter now as the resident residents prepare for the winter, and the transient residents begin to migrate to their winter homes.

With all that going on, there’s still plenty to see out on the lake. Like this Kingfisher:

or this Killdeer caught in flight:

This time of year is when I see Egrets around the lake (another cycle). This one had just made a short hop of a flight. Almost sort of a literal “puddle jumper”.

As I was paddling up the lake, I saw a large bird coming towards me. I grabbed the camera and just held the shutter button. I wasn’t sure at the time, but the pictures confirm that this was a bird that I’ve only seen a few times over the years.

Yes, that’s a Bald Eagle.

Gotta throw in a gratuitous Great Blue Heron picture:

Creature Feature 2016 #2

I know, where have I been? I’ve had a lot going on, a lot of which could be the subject of a Caregiving Thoughts post. But, finally, I have some creature material (as usual, click on a picture to get to a higher-resolution version).

The first creature featured is a Beaver, but unfortunately, I didn’t get the camera pointed before he splashed the water and disappeared.

The Osprey were much more visible at their nest on top of the water system’s intake structure. I’m guessing these two are the parents, and they seemed quite intent on what was in the nest.

A third Osprey was hanging out on the other end of the structure, keeping an eye on me. Perhaps he’s a family member helping out?

Now, ordinarily, I wouldn’t think much of encountering a spider web, but this one was on some old tree branches sticking out of the water a good 6 or 7 meters from the nearest shore. Can spiders swim? Or maybe she just ballooned out there and set up shop. Given the insects caught in the web, I’d say, so far, so good.


Of course, the obligatory Great Blue Heron picture. I got a lot of pixels on this one….

…just before he decided to take off and go to warp.

In another encounter, while out cycling, I crossed paths with a little Mockingbird, probably not much older than a fledgling. She was small and more stubby-looking than the normally slender adults, but the wing markings left no question that this was a Mockingbird.
In an encounter of a different kind, while we don’t think of clouds as creatures, the way the move, shift, grow, and change they can seem alive. Taken from high above Laurens County:

Creature Feature 2016 #1

Finally, I had a chance to get out on the lake. It was a foggy morning.

During the winter I noticed that the osprey nest on top of the water system’s intake structure was gone, perhaps due to stormy weather. They’ve rebuilt and are back.

This beaver was swimming back and forth, seeming to keep an eye on me.

One of the ways these critters communicate is by slapping the water with their tails. Wait for it…

It makes a really loud noise when they do this. It sounds a lot like someone dropped a bowling ball (and I don’t mean candlepin bowling) in the water.

Awash

The weather is finally turning more seasonable. New Year’s Day was just warm enough to go out and get the new boat permit stickers wet.

I’ve never been out on the lake when it’s been up this high, at least a meter above normal. I was able to take a “short cut” and turn out to the right across the dock when I left the boat ramp.

And there were some other interesting things to see out there.

I wish I had more time, because there’s a lot more lake to explore out there right now.

Talk about the weather…

Yes, here it is, Boxing Day, temperatures in the upper 70F’s:

…and I’m sitting around out on the lake in shorts.

This picture is also notable because it was taken in a place on the lake that wasn’t lake before. All the heavy rain and runoff has created some more “lake” to kayak on.

Creature Feature 2015 #8

I like to be out early. Is this what you’d call the crack of dawn? The clouds were certainly broken, if not cracked. (For those just joining us, you can click on the picture below to get to a higher-res version you can zoom into.)

Up at the end of the lake, I found a Heron and an Egret hanging out, and they didn’t seem to mind my hanging out there too, as long as I kept my distance (or, really, their distance).

In fact, it surprised be a bit when the Egret decided to come over to my side of the lake. Maybe she didn’t get along with the Heron…


These fawns were hanging out on the shore.

While other Herons were conducting tree-top operations.

This Eastern Phoebe was working the trees along the shore.


Ooh, make that two Eastern Phoebes.

Moving to the other end of the lake, I floated into this little backwater lagoon and, odd, I don’t remember there being a rock there…

Or two rocks … and why did that small rock seem to be pushing around the big one?

Oh….