Sunday, May 3, 2009

Oak Orchard Canoe Trek

One of the things I most look forward to each year is the canoe trek organized by the Buffalo Audobon Society. Each spring and fall we meet at the Knowlesville Road bridge in the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge at 9 a.m. for a spectacular paddle through the swamps. Today's weather could not have been better - sunny and around 65 degees with very light winds :)

It takes a bit of time to get everyone into the water, but drifting around in the creek is a great way to pass the time.

About 20 canoes and kayaks paddled off surrounded by the songs of warblers, finches, and red wing blackbirds.

A sun-worshipping turtle stuck around to watch us leave.

And we're off..................

I love this creek because there are spots that are wide open and areas that are narrow; completely wooded sections and others that are almost barren. And through it all, the birds just sing and sing and sing.

We saw quite a few blue herons. They are the most prehistoric looking bird - I just love them!

This is the section where I was so happy it wasn't windy! In other treks, that wind would be full force in your face and it's just paddle, paddle, paddle to keep moving forward.

Nothing like "Spring Green" after months of white and gray.Right after I took this picture and had put the camera away, a turkey vulture was riding the thermals directly overhead. Rather than scramble for the camera, I just tipped my head back and watched him silently soar. He was beautiful - I could see all his feathers on his outstretched wings and he drifted back and forth with just a tilt of his body.
Many times in the past treks, Rick our guide, has to get out his saw to clear the way of fallen trees and branches. This year though was smooth paddling. I always am a bit sad to come to this bridge, as I know the take out spot is not much further ahead.

Here's the view from Sour Springs Road where we end the trek. And below is the other side of the road. We were going to continue on, but a kayak scout told us there was too much 'creek crud' to get through.

The whole paddle only took us about an hour and 45 minutes. Much too short, if you ask me! The next trek is scheduled for October 4 - I've already got it on my calendar!