Birder's Eye View

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Most Amazing Kayaking Trip Ever

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. - John Muir

Spring Break: Day 3. Time for another kayaking trip! My friend and I set off around 1pm, destined for a bird preserve/mangrove island in the middle of the bay, across from school. We brought a video camera along just for the fun of it to see what kinds of wildlife we could film from the water.

Our first encounter was around half a dozen species of birds sitting on some old posts that marked the opening of the cove. Royal and Common Terns, Pelicans, Cormorants, Anhingas, and Laughing Gulls all perched side by side, dozing in the hot afternoon sun.

Further in to the cove, we maneuvered our way through narrow "canals," ducking low to avoid decapitation by mangrove branches. This place was incredible -- a jurassic-looking landscape of short, dense mangroves, with long roots and propagules arching gracefully into the glassy water.

Mangrove Crabs scuttled up the low-growing trees, kingfishers, ibis, and herons took off as we approached, and spides sidled up their webs as we drifted past.

At one point, as we were kayaking backwards out of a canal, a warbler began to sing right above us. I got a moment's glimpse, but it was enough to identify it later when I got back -- it was a lifer: a gorgeous male Prairie Warbler! Somewhat ironic, I thought, to see it in a place that couldn't possibly be more different from a prairie.

On our way back to school around 3:00ish, we encountered 3 dolphins splashing around in the water a few yards ahead. Whipping out the camera, I started filming. To our astonishment, the dolphins made their way up to us and began circling the kayaks, coming almost close enough to reach!

It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. They splashed and played and dove around us; I was shaking with excitement. After a while, they moved off out to the larger bay. We got the whole thing on tape though, so I'll try to upload it later (even though it doesn't have much to do with birds... it's still incredible!).

Today was the most amazing day I've had in a really long time. New birds, new experiences, lots of fun.

Until next time,

Happy birding!


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