Posted: May 21, 2020 Most Recent Posts:
About: Late February 2020 Mid February 2020: The Knap In
Silver River State Park Silver Springs: Unlevel but a Fantastic River
Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area
On Sunday, they held the second day of the Knap In (See above link to last post), I went paddling instead. I normally would not go out on a Sunday but I’m leaving in just two days and haven’t gotten nearly enough kayaking. However, I forgot my good camera and had only my sad little Moto who’s pictures are also sad.
Thus I mostly took pictures of the river since zooming is a lost cause with this phone.
Traffic picked up on my way back down the river. When I saw so many people in this one spot, of course I had to find out why.
They are all gathered around seeing the Rhesus Macaque monkeys 6 of whom were brought in for a jungle attraction in the late 1930’s. Their populations have exploded in the 80 years since. They have become an invasive species with a population of over 400 now.
There are many varied opinions about them being here in the park but they are quite popular. I see them nearly every time I come but I thought I might not this time. It’s nearing the end of my stay. But here they are. If I hadn’t been here for 2 weeks, I probably would have missed them.
I have not seen them down this low and close to the water often. I hope someone has not been foolishly throwing them food. This has been illegal since 2018. They are wild animals and have been known to bite. They carry the Herpes B virus.
Back in 2012, we were trapped in our boats by one of the three troops of monkeys as we returned to the state park boat ramp. We all had to sit in our boats until they decided to move on. Perhaps you read that post if you are a long time follower, if not, you could read it here. See the monkeys keep the humans at bay.
I stayed a bit too long watching the monkeys and had to hurry back to get some lunch. On my walk to Winnona, I shared the trail with this Gopher Tortoise. He was pruning the grasses and flowers.
As a rule, I don’t paddle two days in a row. I give my arms and shoulders a rest in between but I’ll be moving back across the state to the east coast tomorrow so I head out in the kayak for my last river paddle of this year.
The Common Moorhen’s bill always reminds me of candy corn and I think of Halloween.
The Green Heron is one of my favorite birds along with the Wood Duck.
His hair is standing on end. I’m not sure what that means but it makes me laugh.
Back to the business of skulking.
I spot this Anhinga as though he were doing a cartoon “splat” up against the tree trunk.
Moving in for a closer shot, I still can’t figure out what he’s holding on to.
It’s another lucky day for seeing manatee and the clear water makes pictures easy to take.
As mammals, they come up for air though they can certainly stay under water much longer than I can.
They are not afraid of boats and will come up quite close. With motor boats that’s much to the manatee’s detriment.
Great Blue Heron seems to say “who me?”
I took dozens of pictures of Pied Billed Grebes in order to get even one that wasn’t blurry or wasn’t “just after” he had dived under the water. They are fast!
Some people think these next two birds are not the same. The Great Blue can certainly make his neck disappear when he’s on the hunt.
A lot like the skulking Green Heron stance only GIANT.
Where did the neck go?
This day I am particularly lucky again to run into a troop of Rhesus Macaques.
It was their calling that alerted me to their presence.
I can spend a lot of time watching their antics as they run and swing through the trees.
The limbs get smaller and smalerl the higher they climb.
Very solemn face and then …
I guess that’s a laugh. I didn’t see anything funny myself.
Every where I look members of the troop are busy but this guy is just looking at me.
Hanging out with mom or is it dad?
How about a little grooming?
Seems like the sort of look Celia gives when you want to put barrettes or pony tails in her hair though she doesn’t sit nearly so still.
Back in the trees, hide and seek or is it tag continues.
Finally I leave the monkeys and see the turtles are sunning. Although there isn’t much sun.
And today I see a group of Wood Storks, not just one
It’s hard to tell in these pictures, but Wood Storks are very large birds. Each of them is 40-44” tall. Think about it.
They are the only stork in North America and have wing spans of five feet..
And so ends my last paddle on the Silver River for this winter.
The next day, I move on and back to Gamble Rogers. It’s an 80 mile trip through the Ocala National Forest mostly and very pleasant.
Until the not so subtle DING DING DING of the jacks indicates that one of them is not up all the way. I find a place to pull over, get out and look, sure enough, the back driver’s side jack is down just a little. It has been taking forever to come up the past few times. Sure wish I’d put those extra set of springs on there rather than the passenger’s front.
I turn the jack store on to no avail. So I get out 3 leveling blocks and my crowbar to force it up. Takes a while but I get it and luckily it stays for the rest of the trip.
I set up in site 21 which has no vegetative buffer so I’m hoping for mild winds.
Early cloudy morning almost sunrise on my first day back.
I don’t take many pictures here other than sunrise, above and straight in front of Winnona and sunset, below and on the other side of the park overlooking the boat basin where it joins the Matanzas and Halifax Rivers.
Unfortunately after my first day, the weather turns rainy and very windy as in excess of 30mph. This on the ocean front is no fun. I pull in both slides. Here’s the view out my front window. The rig is shaking like turbulence in an airplane.
No going outside for several days and to add insult to injury every day I’m getting shut out of campsites for next winter here in Florida.
FINALLY the front moves on and beautiful days return. What a perfect spot for reading.
Gentle early morning color.
I take a daily walk from Winnona down to the beach and north along the water then over to the other side of the park and a loop around the boat basin, the River side campground and through the forest and back.
On this day I forgot to check the tide and found the sea up to the bottom of the steps.
Winnona watches me as I walk by.
On the last day of February I head over to the Bulow Woods Hiking Trail intending to do the 4 mile hike. All is well at the beginning. I head into the woods, over the bridge, stop for a picture with one of the BIG trees but can’t really do a very good job with my Motorola Cell Phone. I can’t figure out why I so often don’t take my good Canon camera.
Over the bridge, under the tree.
Along the path.
Things are going fine, then….
Hmmm, this doesn’t look right. It’s been a year at least since I did this hike but I don’t remember the grasses or the savannah.
There must be a way to get from here to there. But the more I walk the less it looks like I’m going in the right direction
Ok time to give up, turn around and see where I did the wrong thing.
Finally this is starting to look right and there is the bridge. Now which one of those paths on the other side goes where I want to go? I consult the picture of the map I took on my way in.
I’ve got it.
Back at Ruby I see I have turned my 4 mile hike into a 6 mile hike but that’s OK.
And so February ends. March as you know, is the beginning of a whole new world for all of us. See you then.