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

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Last Paddle on the Wekiva River

Monday April 4, 2016                                                           Most Recent Posts:
Wekiwa Springs State Park                                                   Finding the Rock Spring Headwaters and Tubing
Apopka, Florida                                                                    Jumping to the Present(s) – Carrie’s Baby Shower



This morning is my last paddle from the dock at Wekiwa Springs State Park.  At the end of this morning, I’ll be taking my kayak out and putting it on the car for the trip up to King’s in order to paddle the Rock Creek Run tomorrow. 

As usual, the water looks glorious when I set out early in the morning.  What a great way to start the day!



I am amazed at the size of the fish.  The spring is not like glass this morning but I do my best to get a picture of this guy who has to be at least 2.5 feet long.




On down the run I find the green heron in his beautiful feathers.



I’ve been disappointed not to have seen the otters again but imagine my surprise when while looking for them I glance up nad see a swallow tailed kite soaring around in the sky above.   S/he is definitely the joy of the morning.   Just look at that tail.



The bird performs acrobatics in the air above my head with breathtaking grace and beauty.  Also known as the Scissor Tailed kite this bird is a raptor measuring 19 to 26” with a wing span of around 48” and weighs only 17 oz. 


The kite disappears over the trees and out of sight.  I paddle on down the water way.




It reappears over and over.  I take dozens of pictures.  This is the best at showing their destinctive markings.  I could easily have watched this bird all day but eventually my neck got too sore from tilting my head back.




The sun has risen in the sky to just the point of my eyes when I look ahead and can’t believe I’m seeing another otter with his wake trailing behind him.


In the picture above it is much more obvious than it was to my eyes that this is a log worn by the water.  But really doesn’t it still look like an otter’s head?



Further along I find a juvenile little blue heron is just beginning to darken into his blue feathers.  I’ve been seeing them along the run every time I’ve been here but they are usually still totally white.




All of a sudden I see this fellow glide into the water from the right side of the bank directly in front of him.  At my current spead, I’m going to ram him so I quickly start back paddling to allow him to cross in front of me.  Which he does.





No sense in irritating this reptile.  He won’t bother me at all if I don’t.




Sun’s up, turtles are out.






I pass the bridge and approach Wekiva Island.



While the spring run looks absolutely pristine to me and is part of the Florida Canoe Trail, the environmentally minded folks at Wekiva Island have the not so happy facts which they post to inform the public.




Only one person is around this morning and she’s sitting right across the river from a pair of Ibis in the tree.





The turn for the King’s Landing Shuttle is just beyond this cabana where they are setting up balloons and preparing I assume for a party.





Nature’s tenacity always just makes me smile.  A tree can fall into the river, be cut by a chain saw and still put out new growth in the spring.  You have to admire such a will to live.




I paddle on up the river and eventually turn around paddling back by the houseboat for the I don’t know how manyith time since we have been here.   it still looks cute sitting there.  I still wonder when someone uses it and what the path up to it looks like.




The party place now has a canine protector who barks firmly at me as I pass by.



Folks have arrived and have rented their water craft, both kayaks and paddle boards.







Back in the spring run I find this juvenile little blue who has only the very beginnings of his blue feathers on his shoulders. 



I find the water monster keeping watch over who is entering the spring run.



After safe passage, I enter what becomes turtle territory.





They seem to be on every log.




A little blue heron with his amazingly blue beak peeks out of the spatterdock as I paddle by.




I spy another green heron fairly far up and away from the water.



I know I’m getting near the park when the boats coming toward me begin to multiply. 




The poor turtles will have a hard time getting any sun if they slide off of their logs for every boat that comes by.





I pass a group of paddleboarders as I enter the lake area before the dock.  I’m glad I’m coming in with all the traffic going out.  I will see the spring run one more time from the water when I paddle back from a float down the Rock Spring Run tomorrow so I don’t have to say good-bye quite yet.


  1. What wonderful critters you see and pictures of them and the scenery - lovely!!

  2. How cool that you got a photo of the juvenile Little Blue Heron getting his blue feathers! We've never seen that transition. And Scissor-tailed Kites, too. Just wonderful! Your photos of Wekiva and Rock Springs are making me happy that we'll be returning next winter to paddle those beautiful waters again. Glad you avoided running into that gator!

  3. That river monster is one scary looking fellow. Hope he didn't take too big of a bite out of your kayak when you passed by! ;c)

  4. Love the Kite pictures. Very cool to see them! I've seen a few birds here in Oklahoma that are similar.

  5. I do hope that people in Florida will continue to try to protect and save their springs from pollution. They are such an amazing treasure. Too many people, too much stuff. Sad. So glad that you are documenting these spring runs so well with your stories. Love it.

  6. I imagine the gators are quite aware of people in their environment.

  7. Another peaceful and lovely morning on the water. The Kite is beautiful, amazing he weighs so little with that wind span! Yes, I thought it was an otter too :-) How clever of the young woman to dress to match the Ibis......even her bag. Oh how I love seeing all the turtles! You must feel like you're turning over "your" run to the rest of the world as you return while they're arriving.

  8. You got a lot of great wildlife shots here, especially the ones of the kite! I saw them, but have no evidence of that. I know it is really difficult to shoot overhead with the camera zoomed and your kayak moving. Nicely done!

  9. WOW, what a wonderful last paddle!! You have capture so many marvelous nature photos and made us want to get out on that water:o)) Love the early mornings!!!

  10. I don't think it would be a good idea to ram into a gator, who should have the right-of-way being who and what he is!

  11. Beautiful!! Love the scizzor tail and the juvenile herons turning blue. Glad to see so many turtles!! The river is so alive!! You get out just in time to beat the masses. So lovely.

  12. Most definitely a wonderful way to start the day. That Kite put on quite the show. I'd rather chance the Otter log than the alligator. Such a delightful variety of birds.


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