Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Kayaking the Myakka River

Tuesday February 2 & Wednesday February 3, 2016                      Most Recent Posts:
Palmetto Ridge Campground                                                             Back to Back Biking 
Myakka River State Park                                                                 Celery Fields
Sarasota Florida



On our hikes today we see several of the wild hog pens that the park puts out to try to catch these destructive invasive pests.  None of the traps were set though which I think is a shame.




I snap a couple of pictures I really like of the Anhinga, one of him drying his beautiful feathers and a close up.




While out, we check the bridge as usual but this time for the water level to estimate whether we can get under there.  We are considering going kayaking tomorrow.  What do you think?





Down in the picnic circle the tri-colored heron snaggs himself a snack.  No wonder they have to do so much fishing if those are the usual size of their bites.



David notices something few of us ever see, a pair of wasps making a nest.  Are these hornets? 



The river is supposed to crest today and the picnic area is more under water than we’ve seen it yet.  The only one around the nice bench is the Great Blue Heron.






We end our day with some games of Sequence with Nancy and Bill out in their screen room on a nice warm day suitable for short sleeve shirts for all of us.   Temperatures are great if the rain will just stay away like today.




But the view from here sure looks iffy.








We love kayaking the Myakka River and had hoped to do it multiple times while we are here but as in the Keys, the weather just won’t cooperate.  It’s either raining,  or too windy.   Since we are leaving in just a few days we are running out of time to go even once so today, despite the wind predictions, we pack up and head out to put the kayaks in the  flooded river.

Normally we put in at the bridge but today with the river up and the winds predicted, we don’t want to paddle against the river going under the bridge.  The other boat launch is at the Outpost which puts you into Upper Myakka Lake.  We don’t want to paddle the lake, we want to paddle the river.  With the little picnic area so flooded, it is now possible to use it as a boat launch so we head over there and launch right into the river.  You can see from the picture below that this area is usually dry ground with a nice bench on the river bank.




Becasue of the flooding, we can actually paddle right through the trees that are normally on dry ground.













It is just a gorgeous day on the water and the skies are exceptional.



It isn’t long though until the winds pick up and the water gets choppy.  We are paddling up stream toward Myakka Lake against both the river and the winds.








The lapping water probably makes nice soothing music to sleep to for this gator. 






In order to stay out of the wind we paddle over along the edges of the woods.



Spanish Moss drapes the trees and it’s fun to paddle under the branches with it hanging down.






The birds we see on the river are the same ones we’ve been seeing on our walks.  The great egret sticks his head above the grasses.



The limpkin is almost hidden.



We reach the power line road and David says he’s going to pull over.



There is another tri-colored heron on the road so David pulls into the weeds to watch him.



Unfortunately being down low in the kayak means that the grasses are in the way for the pictures.  He still takes many many.



While he’s watching I paddle on up into the fingers of the river and eventually turn around and come back to check on him.



He says he’s ready to have the wind at his back and float with the river so we turn around and head back.  We were hoping to paddle up to the weir and see what it looks like in water this deep but we have to pass on paddling against the wind. 

But boy are the skies spectacular in this direction.





In fact, the skies are one of the highlights of this paddle.



We round a bend and I notice the Canopy Walk Tower in the distance.



There are folks up there but without binoculars I doubt they can see us.




In some bushes behind the grasses on the way back David gets this great picture of a snowy egret with his mouth open and his golden slippers gripping the branch in the wind.





As we round the bend back to our put in we decide to float on by and take out at the bridge so we can float under it.  Because roads are straighter than waterways, it isn’t a long walk back to get Ruby.                               

Just look at those skies.





As we go by the place where we put in, we see that there is a new trio fishing.  The great blue heron has been replaced by an Ibis but the Great Egret and the Snowy Egret are still there.  It’s fun to see them from the water.




Snowy and Great EgretsIMG_6996


Ibis and Snowy EgretIMG_6997


Ibis and Great EgretIMG_6998


I’m about to round the bend to the straight river run to the bridge when over head there is another Ibis on a branch.

Many people call the Ibis the Florida chicken becasue there are so many of them.  But we haven’t seen all that many here this year.   Their beaks are distinctive.





Here goes David toward and under the bridge.  The afternoon sun is in our eyes.



Just enough clearance for him to get under without bending forward.  That water is really high.



We cut over and paddle back up to the road where we take out the kayaks and I walk back to get Ruby.



Just across the road from us is a woman with an umbrella.  A closer inspection on my way to the car shows that she is part of a landscape painting group working on this side of the bridge this afternoon in the wind.  Holding that umbrella up while painting must be a real chore.






Across the road and in the protection of the trees, the rest of the group is painting.




I arrive to find Ruby patiently waiting and that the Ibis has left and a tri-colored has taken his place.  This group has been one we look forward to seeing each day.





I drive the car back and after we get the kayaks on the car I am finished tying mine and look over to see a man with a camera bent over taking a picture of I guess something in the grass.  His wife waits in the car.  I go over to see what it is.

It’s a anhinga playing toss the fish up and catch it and toss it up again and catch it in a different and repeat.



Each time he gets it in his mouth we think he’s going to swallow it but then he spits it back out and juggles it again.  He keeps this up so long, the man’s wife gets out of the car to see what we are looking at.




When it’s three of us watching and taking pictures David comes over and get this shot before he too gets pulled into watching this bird.




At first we think he’s trying to get the fish positioned but this goes on for at least 15 minutes or more and the bird has had several chances to swallow the fish but doesn’t.  He flips it back up in the air.  Sometimes he flips it and catches it and tosses it right back up in the air.  We laugh and say he’s auditioning for the circus.   Look at that fiesty look in his eye.





Looks like it is headed straight into his mouth.





Ok, we say, this is it.  down it goes.



But nope, back out it comes.  It gets flipped some more.



Finally, after a few more tosses it does go right down his throat which stretches to accomodate eating that fish whole.  Poor fish I think.  What a traumatic way to die.




That leaves us all still marveling about what I call the beek to eye coordination of this Anhinga as he stretches out his wings to dry in the sun.






What an entertaining way to end a lovely afternoon, windy or not, on the Myakka River.



  1. You are right the skies were all wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing!!!!

  2. Looks like you had a very good day to be on the water!

  3. I can imagine how funny it must have been to watch that bird playing with the fish. I hope he killed it first, but probably he didn't and he was torturing a live fish.

  4. Boy, the water is really high. I bet it made for interesting places that you could paddle. You are right that the sky is one of the best parts of the day. Those cloud formations were wonderful:)

  5. What a nice day in a beautiful park.

  6. I so love you kayaking trips. Must be very peaceful to be on the water, except in wind and waves I suppose. What a show that cormorant put on for you all. The clouds were spectacular.

  7. The skies were so beautiful that day, reminded us of the wide open skies of the west that we love so much!

  8. The cloud formations were just wonderful! So many different looks. That poor fish. He probably thought he was going to catch a break until that last moment :)

  9. I guess that cormorant had pretty poor parents. My parents always told me not to play with my food. :c)

    Actually, quite amazing and humorous pictures of that bird.

  10. Beautiful sky, beautiful birds, beautiful day & a sweet retelling to remember it all so well. The cormorant feeding event was indeed quite a show. Maybe that fish was just a tad big for him so he had to try harder to make sure everything was lined up right lest the little fish might come back up. I certainly don't know, but the cormorant sure did.

  11. Beautiful skies...so glad you got in a Myakka kayak :) Lovely bird sighting...I do feel sorry for the fish...the cormorant sure had patience to get it just how he wanted...great pictures!

  12. wow. ..what a spectacular day you had.

    I hope we see even a portion of the birds you have, given we will be arriving late in the season. . .our last two campsites have been right on the water, and we have been throroughly enjoying the wildlife. . .the Great Egret here is in full breeding plumage, and Dave was able to get a shot of him catching a perch, but nothing like the show you guys experienced. . .that was truly amazing. . .

  13. We've never kayaked the Myakka River -- it looks terrific -- another one we need to add to our list for next year. :-) Love those beautiful cloud formations and your fantastic bird photos!

  14. Wow those cloud formations are spectacular!
    Great shots of the Anhinga juggling its food! You know I wonder if that is a ritual among birds. I also watch a duck tousling a frog for a very long time. Not sure though if he swallowed it like the Anhinga.


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