Monday, September 3, 2012

Black Creek • September 3

Great Blue Heron. Several of us had a spectacular kayaking trip down Black Creek today! We put in at Churchville Park and headed west to nearly Route 19 in Genesee county. This heron was nearby where we put in. Little did I know what would be coming later on with this species ...

Black Creek. The water was generally flat and comfortably deep the entire way as long as we kept to the sides.

Black Creek. Though most trees are still green, they are the faded green of late summer. Also, occasionally we came across trees beginning to turn.

Painted Turtle. This is the most common turtle species in North America. As long as they don't get run over crossing the highway (their greatest threat, seriously!), they will live to be 50+.

Great Blue Heron. This rather surprised bird was matching my surprise as I was slowly drifting while taking the previous turtle picture. When done, I glanced to my right and the heron was RIGHT THERE! I slowly and briefly put my paddle in the water and changed the direction of my drift which allowed me to get this picture without flushing the bird.

Painted Turtles. It is very important to a Painted Turtle's habitat to have several places were they can bask in the sun for hours on end. As you can see in the middle, basking atop another turtle works, too! (Well, at least for the upper turtle, I suppose.)

Painted Turtles. We saw dozens of these turtles today all along the creek.

Sneezeweed. This late summer blooming wildflower lined the creek for miles in great profusion. I originally thought they were the Green-headed Coneflower that line Oatka Creek for miles. However, I eventually noticed the leaves on the plants were wrong and took a closer look. A subsequent inspection of the creekside while kayaking did not reveal a single Green-headed Coneflower along Black Creek. Later in the day I hiked along Oatka Creek and carefully looked at the yellow flowers. All Green-headed Coneflower without a single Sneezeweed. 

Black Creek

Black Creek. I was casually taking landscape pictures when another member of the party pointed out the drama taking place just left of center ...

Great Blue Heron. This heron had just snagged a fish! We watched from a respectful distance as the bird worked with its meal.

Great Blue Heron

Woods Ducks. These are juveniles and, conveniently, one each of a female (left) and a male (right). The female has a dark iris, a dark colored bill, and less markings on its face. The male has a red iris, a lighter colored bill, and a white mark on the side of its face.

Great Egret. As were returned to the boat launch, this wonderful bird topped off our great trip!