Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Lake Kissimmee: Kayaking

January 21-February 2, 2023                                      Most Recent Posts:
Lake Kissimmee State Park                              Lake Kissimmee State Park
site 12                                                                     Florida SKP For the First Time
Lake Wales, Florida

PXL_20230122_132008221Here’s a reminder of where I am in site 12 at Lake Kissimmee State Park.  What I LOVE about state parks as opposed to private parks is the ability to WALK not drive to all the trail heads and to the kayak launch.

And that’s pretty much what I did every day.  I alternated between kayaking the canal and hiking the trails.   The lakes are oten too rough and too many air boats which are VERY popular here.   So I did not kayak them.   The canal is about an hour paddle up to Lake Rosalie and is relatively sheltered from the wind unless it is blowing straight up or down the canal.

This is a combination of pictures from the days I was on the water. 

This launch site is just down from the damn dam.  The dam and canal control the water in both lakes.

I knew the deer were in my campsite and on the trails but I wasn’t really expecting them to wade in the water.  They must be getting their feet wet this close since the canal edges are marshy.   She’s really reaching out to get something.

I was also surprised that the birds on the canal were so skittish, given all the kayakers that must do this all year long.   Nearly all the pictures of them I took required my canon’s zoom lens since as soon as I got even 200 feet away it seemed, they were on the wing.   The exception was the egret who didn’t seem to be very bothered.  He saved a lot of energy.



How does a large bird like an anhinga perch on such insubstantial branches?  Especially with big black webbed feet.

Most of my days paddling down the canal were cloudy like this one.

Many of my bird shots looked like this.

All of these shots were taken from quite a distance and cropped.  This looked sort of like an anhinga apartment house with 3 floors.

Such wonderful feather patterns on their backs.

You can barely see the three in the tree branches on the right.

Notice the great green legs.   I think this is an immature Little Blue Heron but hopefully Laurel will let me know for sure.


That’s the opening to the lake.  The lovely red/pink are the maple catkins.  Spring in late January.

Not sure who the buoys are supposed to keep out of the canal from the lake but they don’t keep out fishermen with trolling motors.   Notice the bird on the pole.


I saw many more anhingas than Double Breasted Cormorants.  This is a zoom picture so you cannot see his great feather designs on his back.   The gray sky made it hard to show his designs.

Another distant bird shot but I got her closer later on.  I’m surprised I even saw her up there since I would never think to look for her so high up.  If you’ve ever heard a bird sound like a woman in distress, it’s probably a Limpkin like this.

Better light angle although I still had to lighten it.

I just love this rattling bird.  He is SO fast that I consider it a real coup when I can get a non blurry shot of him.  He doesn’t sit still long enough. 


This is the sort of thing I saw over and over.   And then too, many of the shots I tried to get of them in flight were too blurry.  It’s hard to keep up with a moving bird when you are zoomed in.   He flies right out of your frame.

I loved the shimmering water color look to these so I’m using 3 of them.  Even the one that isn’t quite sharp.

Who is this with the black wing tips?  Head is too light for a wood stork.  Can’t be a white pelican here.  Whooping crane has black feet.   I thought White Ibis only had black wing tips on the farthest ends of the wings not all the way around.  Help Laurel.

More birds in flight.

Aren’t they amazing.

And then there are birds that fly and swim.  The Anhinga is also known as the snake bird.  You can see why here.


I went out on the canal pretty much every other morning.  Some days were much sunnier than others


And some were much windier.


Still most of the birds were flying away when I got near.

But this kingfisher didn’t and you can see why.  How did he fly to this branch with that big fish?

These pictures are combinations of several days and on another day from the above I caught a great shot of this kingfisher chattering.

The rough water didn’t seem to bother this Common Moorhen at all. 

One of the birds I saw most frequently and one less likely to fly before I was anywhere near was the Little Blue Heron.


Turtles were only out on the sunny mornings which was less than half the days I was on the water.


The canal was exquisite on these few bright blue sky days.


I was surprised to spot this gator on the bank in the woods rather than in the sun where they usually like to soak up the heat.


In the picture above you have to look closely to see his head in the water.  He was relatively long.   Below is a close up of his eyes watching.


After I had already put the cloudy day pictures together I came upon this sunny day picture of the same Cormorant, I assume, perched in the same place on another brighter day.  His designs and black webbed feet are more visible here.


These are the days on which I feel as though I am paddling through the skies.



This water bird has  had his name changed so many times that I can’t keep up.   He was the Florida Gallinule, then switched over to the Common Gallinule and in 1982 to the Common Moorhen which is how I know him.  But in 2011 they switched back to the Common Gallinule but I’m not doing it.  I didn’t join in the switching around of the Rufous Sided Towhee to the Eastern Towhee either.   He’s rufous to me.

I was amazed that the moorhen was not the least bit bothered by being within a foot or two of my boat  and paid me no mind as he nibbled what I assume were seeds off of the grasses on the edge of Lake Rosalie

His bill always reminds me of Halloween candy corn.  He makes me laugh.  What a design.


Here’s a non water bird I was able to spot along the shore. the red bellied woodpecker.

This “look mom no hands” pose also always makes me laugh.


Don’t think this is the same alligator since he doesn’t look as long.  But I spotted him or a different day so it is possible.


As an appropriate ending to my days on the canal – another bird on the wing.


And on only one day did I see the darling Pied Billed Grebe who was there every day when I started out paddling and returned on the Wekiwa Spring Run.


I had intended to do one quick post on kayaking and hiking at Lake Kissimmee.  Clearly I got very carried away and unable to contain my pictures.  This is a constant problem for me.  Anyone with suggestions on how to curb it please do advise    Next post will be about hiking at the park.   I’ll try to do better but without some advice I don’t know if it will happen.


  1. That deer is a beauty.

    There's no issue with photo heavy posts, particularly as you're not a daily blogger.

    1. Thanks William. Glad you don't mind too many pictures

  2. Don’t ever curb your fascination with birding. I’m learning stuff I would never would have persued otherwise.
    Have you thought about taking up knitting? 🤪

  3. Best part of Florida, the birds and the water. Second best part, the gators and the water. Third best part, the skies and the water. I think the water wins. Somehow all those cloudy skies made me feel cold, although I can imagine it wasn't that cold. Guess I am just cold right now.

    1. No definitely not cold here. Which of course is why I am here. When I 1st came down it was the ocean water I loved but now it's really the Springs and rivers.

  4. I always love the heavy laden picture posts haha. Reminds me of our days in Florida. All very good,especially that Kingfisher.

    1. Glad to hear you like the pictures Laurie. I appreciate your comments.

  5. No complaints on the number of pics as I never get to see all those wonderful birds! You got so many great catches of them in flight, my favorite! Those sunny blue skies are stunning from the water.

    1. You should see how many pictures I took of them in flights since they seem to be always in flight. The ones I published were the ones that weren't a total blur as I tried to keep up with them.

  6. Have you been to Bok Tower? If you haven’t, it’s not to be missed! Great kingfisher shots!

    1. This is the real problem with being behind in my posting. I didn't know about Bok gardens or visit it. Thanks for letting me know what I missed.

  7. Your bird pictures are far better than John J. Audubon's bird paintings. Not to mention all your birds are alive and moving, unlike the poor birds he used in his work. I really enjoyed them (yours, not his). :c)

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Paul and for everything you do to help me.

  8. Please share all the bird shots you want. Love paddling through the clouds.

  9. Wonderful bird shots. Have never seen such a good photo of an anhinga's back. Good work!

    1. Thank you Judith. In years past I've had even better ones when their wings were wide open as they dried them.

  10. So many birds!! How did that anhinga sit up there in the branch looking weightless?! I love the paddling through the clouds and the turtle shots too. And that woodpecker...your zoom is amazing!!

    1. Yes the zoom made nearly all of these photos possible as the birds wouldn't let me get anywhere near them.

  11. I'm not much of a birder, I just know they are beautiful and graceful, but I just spent a few days with friends on Kiawah Island, SC who ARE birders. Seeing their excitement and listening to their conversations was such fun. Maybe I'll retain a tad of their expertise! LOL! Looking forward to the hiking post!!

    1. It's Sharon - I have NO idea why that post showed up as anonymous. That's certainly never happened before.

    2. Thanks for the comment Sharon. Blogger just makes me furious when it, for seemingly no reason, makes people anonymous. I'm glad you noticed and let me know it was you. Friends on Kiawah Island sounds wonderful.

  12. Your bird photos are wonderful, including the kingfisher—a bird that is notoriously difficult to photograph! They seem to know when I have my camera pointed at them and immediately take flight. And I love the feather pattern you show on the anhinga. I was admiring one today at the refuge in Gainesville. :-)

    1. Thanks Laurel. Any compliment on photos from you is a real honor given your photography. But is it a little blue heron? And who is the guy with the black feather on the wing spread??

    2. I think you're right about the immature Little Blue Heron. And I'm guessing Wood Stork for your big white bird with the black wing tips, but it's hard to tell for sure from the photos. As you said, difficult to photograph them when they're flying by! :-)

  13. Wow, I agree with the others, post all of the photos you want and don't think twice about it. You truly get some great shots, particularly with the birds. Very impressive and great to see...thanks!


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