Fog, A Log and A First

Gini would say I’m stitching together pieces of adventure to form a nice patchwork quilt of memories. (See why I married her? —> She is the smartest person I know.)

When last you tuned in, we took a brief walk about Colt Creek State Park and found a few insects and hardly any birds. Today’s patch exploration found precious little of either of the above. However, it was a glorious morning walk! Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands may be difficult to pronounce, but it’s an easy walk of 1.5 miles on a raised berm around the wetlands or one can opt for a mile stumbling along the creek-side through old-growth hardwood forest. Naturally, today I chose the path less traveled. (Okay, I was the only one there so “less-traveled” is not really accurate. But the fog obscured the actual wetlands so I thought I’d see what the forest looked like. Good decision.)

In keeping with my current theme (what, you didn’t know there was a theme?), this patch is only nine miles from the house.

Upon arriving, the pre-dawn was crystal clear with that peculiar color of blue the sky displays before the rising sun sets it afire. Even as the first bright rays shot above the tree line, wisps of mist began to materialize above the wetlands. Almost immediately after the sun was fully above the horizon, dense fog formed and enveloped the wetlands in a damp gray blanket.

Our weather for the past several weeks has been very wet with regular thunderstorms in the afternoons dumping several inches of water daily. The recent rains added a deep, saturated green to the tree leaves. It wasn’t long before the sun’s beams began to break through the fog and forest canopy.

Although I didn’t get many photographs of birds (again), they made their presence known in calls and songs. Northern cardinal, white-eyed vireo, tufted titmouse, northern parula, a red-shouldered hawk screaming in the distance.

On the way back to the parking area, I was surprised by a King Rail with two juveniles in tow feeding along the edge of the wetlands. The photograph is not good, but it’s the first time I’ve gotten any image at all of this particular rail. Not to mention the significance of confirming that this somewhat rare species is breeding here! Icing on the already delicious cake of a good day!

Patch:  Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands 

Sunrise over the wetlands.Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

 

Ordinary scenes take on an ethereal quality when cloaked in fog. An island with the bright sun behind it seems to glow with a special halo. A pool of water with trees on the far shore appears mysterious and one wonders what might be discovered beyond.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

 

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands 

Itchepackesassa Creek, still foggy in the distance.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

A log fallen across the creek immediately screamed to my inner child:  “Climb me!”  My senior self immediately said: “Not likely, ever again.”

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

Deer Moss (Cladina spp.) is actually not moss but a lichen. When there has been plenty of rain, it is very soft to the touch but during dry periods it becomes quite brittle.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

The path is not always clear. Then comes enlightenment.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

A King Rail adult and juvenile.

Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands

 

Another patch with which I should be intimately familiar. I am not. That just means I must return (again and again). I feel certain you are all well versed in what to expect within your own birding patch, and I am jealous of you.

 

We hope you enjoy your search for a natural place and come back for a visit!

Categories: Birds, Florida, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “Fog, A Log and A First

  1. Great story and photos, Wally. I’d never heard of Itchepackesassa Creek Wetlands but it looks like a fine place to explore. Thank you for sharing!

    Ed

  2. Absolutely stunning! Of course the trees, moss and swampy creek are my favorite places to be. ❤️ But the light you captured is gorgeous!!

    • Thank you! The combination of that early morning light, mist, wet trees, flowing creek – a special feeling indeed.
      Good to hear from you!

  3. There might not have been many birds to grace your lens, Wally, but your beautifully atmospheric landscapes more than compensate for this. And, of course, there’s your delightful narrative!

    My wildlife forrays have changed in character this year (in fact, until this year, I’d have used ‘birding’ in this sentence instead of ‘wildlife’). Previously I seem to have done a lot of ‘middle-distance’ stuff. I’m now spending more time closer to home but slipping in a few ‘long-distance’ jaunts. It seems to be more productive!

    I hope that you and Gini have a great week. Please send us some of your rain – although I don’t think we’d want ALL of it! My very best wishes – – – Richard

    • Thank you, Richard! What very nice comments. I really appreciate it.
      We do seem to go through “evolutionary” stages, don’t we? I know I am getting immense enjoyment from your posts describing new as well as familiar haunts and seeing your fabulous insects, birds and scenery.
      I would suggest such changes are a result of age but that would entail an admission I am not quite ready to make.
      Our week is off to a great start! You and Lindsay take care of each other.

  4. Sometimes (or even most times) the birds are just moody and don’t want to play ball with us camera enthusiasts. I daren’t think how many times I’ve come back and not fired off a single shot. But as you have reminded me Wally, there are lots of good pictures out there. Trouble is, if I pick up my other camera and lay down the big one, I might miss THE photo opp like two King Rails stood together.

    Enjoy your week mate. You know, we are having Florida type weather here for 10 weeks now and it’s too darned hot.

    • I totally understand the “two camera dilemma”! For some reason, I changed to a bigger lens on the way back to the car but still couldn’t get the rails to pose properly. Sigh. Well, I don’t know whether to wish “better” weather or not for you. After all, “Florida type weather” is perfect! 🙂

      All the best, Phil.

  5. Absolute magic.
    I am a huge fan of the predawn light, and partial to fog too.
    Still envying your rain. Hugely.
    And Hooray for not only seeing the King Rail, but proof that they are breeding there. Definitely a red letter day.

    • Captured a jar full of rain yesterday, Sending it right away.
      Thank you, EC, for your very nice comments! I like being out at dawn in the fog. It’s so still and quiet. It was another good day.
      Take care and enjoy the jar full of rain. 🙂

  6. Adele Jennings

    That is a nice picture of the King Rail and juvenile! Right now i’m In Maine taking pictures of the loons. Unfortunately there are no babies!
    I really enjoy your blog! Have a wonderful day!!
    Adele

    • Thank you, Adele. Hopefully I’ll be able to get better quality images now that I know where they live! I’m jealous that you’re getting pictures of loons!

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