To Alex -

To Alex...who is far away in person, but never far from my heart. I miss you. Enjoy these snippets of everyday family life here in the states.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Fine day for a paddle.

By the way, I did pass the Night Navigation class, with flying colors, and I'm pleased I practiced because they weren't kidding when they said it was a tough course.
Today was finally beautiful and warm. The sun was radiant, the morning promised only gentle breezes and the temps were predicted to be mid 50's. You know what that means, paddles must get wet. I made the obligatory phone calls to see if anyone was available to join me, they weren't, so I loaded up the boat and took myself to a quiet little lake where the Sandhill Cranes are known to nest. It's an ideal spot for birding with all the cattails and wetland areas, plus the lake is in the middle of a state game area, which means no houses. There are water trails and creeks to follow which lead to other lakes with houses, but this particular one is undeveloped.
Look who I found, just a dancin' and a jigglin'.
He's clearly happy and having a good time. Yes, he really was jumping up and down like this. His girlfriend is just to the right of this picture so I'm sure he was showing off for her. This link lets you hear the call and see the jumping.
 Such odd looking birds with an equally odd call.
Okay, so I went out to the lake to paddle, but I found that it was still nearly frozen solid. There was an open channel I could paddle to get to the lake, but once there I was only able to paddle a little ways along the shore before I ran into the sheet of ice. Apparently, 60 degrees doesn't melt the ice that fast. Something comical, the Goose in the back slipped and fell just after I captured this shot. I laughed, out loud. I hope I didn't embarrass him.
Clearly, I wasn't going to get much paddling in, but since I was also prepared for birding, I backed myself into the reeds where I could be out of the breeze, took off my shoes and kicked back to watch the scenery. I kind of liked that I was out there barefoot, not wearing a coat, and yet the geese were walking on ice.
Ah, welcome back, Spring.
Red-winged Blackbird keeping me company. I have a fondness for these birds as their call always reminds me of warm summer days spent outside when I was a child.
I happened to glance down while I was in the shallows and saw this. Could it be? Is it? It was frozen in the muck and even after digging and digging at it with my paddle, I still had to stick my hand in the icy water to retrieve it, and yes, it was a blue Mason jar. What the heck? 
Oh, no, Goose, I don't see you hunkered down in there. I swear, you're totally camouflaged in the reeds.

I don't have pictures because they were too far away, but I also saw swans, Mallards, a couple of raptors and a few unidentifiable birds.
See, it was a Mason jar...and a green wine bottle also had to be retrieved. By the way, the water was so cold it made my fingers hurt.
Yep, fine day for paddling, for birding and for treasure hunting.


  1. hi lily,
    i found you through ravelry, i saw you under friends blogs. what an awesome post! i am envious of your quiet lake to paddle in, and all the birdlife! we live on the pacific ocean and like to kayak too (my husband is a guide out at the channel islands)but ocean paddling is not my favorite (anymore). happy easter!

    1. Lori ann - thank you! Your blog is one of those I follow because of your photography, absolutely beautiful. I've not been open water paddling and I admit, I'm a bit afraid of it. I'm primarily a river paddler, but I often paddle lakes when I'm solo. It's much easier than finding someone to spot a car for me. Thanks for letting me know you were hear. I appreciate the messages.

  2. Congratulations on passing your night navigation class.

    I too, am loving the change to spring. :-)