NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Kayaking Again!

Though we are in the Manitowoc area camping this weekend we do not have wifi at Scheffel's Hideaway Campground so I will continue trying to catch up on old posts instead of showing you what we're up to right now.  Wayne's work laptop has a Verizon aircard but it's just not as "zippy" to do the blog using his setup.  Luckily I have posts that are already mostly ready and easy to put the final touches to on such occasions!

As you may or may not remember, last summer I was recovering from surgery to repair some minor tearing on the labrum in my shoulder joint.  It's been a long time since I was in a kayak.  Wayne's been working a lot of overtime this past month, so I've been out on our lake twice without him.

Now, just so you don't go feeling bad for Wayne, we did get out together one time last week.  I left the camera behind so I could spend my time looking at him.  I haven't seen him much lately, after all.

I like to head down to the south end of Lake Elizabeth with my camera when I'm by myself.  It doesn't take but 10 minutes for me to pass all the boaters and have the place to myself.  Except for the wildlife, that is.

Don't know what kind of bird this guy is so suggestions are welcome! The first time I went out in the kayak I spotted it along with a ton of the Yellow Water Lilies and the Fragrant White Water Lilies.

I also spied three different large turtles, I think they were Spiny Softshell.  Females can live up to 50 years, which means there might be turtles in our lake as old as I am!

Last week when I went out for the second time alone I didn't spot any more of the large softshell turtles, just a handful of the smaller Painted Turtles with their heads poked up above the surface.

When Wayne and I were out together we spotted an abandoned nest.  I went back to it to get a shot, hoping someone out there might know what the eggs were.  They were fairly large but still would've rested easily in the palm of my hand.  Wayne thought they might have been abandoned because the water rose high enough to flood the nest.  I know they're not turtle eggs.  I learned from the DNR website that most likely the reason we saw that turtle crossing the road in Door County was to lay eggs, they tend to do that in May and June.  Glad we helped out!

The turtles may have been my big discovery the first time out, but my second time out alone it was all about the Great Blue Heron.  He tried to play hide and seek with me, but I wasn't fooled.

I was ready when it took to the air.

As you can see in the pictures, they curl their long neck into an "S" shape which makes for a more aerodynamic flight profile.  Believe it or not, these large birds only weigh 5 to 6 pounds due to their hollow bones.

It didn't go very far, and within a few minutes I had caught up to it again.  I couldn't help it that it flew in the same direction I was headed.  I swear I did not mean to stalk this poor bird.

Thanks to the All About Birds website I can tell that this was an adult, not a juvenille, by the black and white striped head.

The statue-like pose is common for them as they scan for fish.  Those feathers on their neck continually grow and fray and are used while preening.  They use a fringed claw on their middle toe to gather the "powder" from the feathers and then reapply it to their underparts to protect from the slime and oils.  I'm not kidding.

Of course while I was admiring the Great Blue Heron I drifted closer than I intended to and scared it off.  I made sure to head in the opposite direction this time.  I also saw a pair of Herons and a Great Egret a little further down the south end of the lake but they were too far out in the lily pad covered area for me to investigate.

Whatever type of bird this is pictured above is very plentiful on the lake.  I know it's a bad shot, but identification help would be appreciated!  Some type of tern maybe?  That makes two types of birds I need help identifying in this post, hope someone out there knows their bird stuff!  This is where I would normally pop in a link to Travels With Emma, but Wayne's laptop won't do that for me so click on Judy's link in my blogroll if you've got the time.


  1. What a lovely setting for your paddle. Your pictures make it look like a soft and relaxing day. I love those. Wish I could help with the birds but I'm terrible with silhouettes. Guessing at the size and beak, that first one is some sort of sparrow. Don't know who you might have up there but the mottled chest might help with an id book. Really nice pictures.

  2. Oddly kayaking is something we've never tried. Lots of blogs I currently read sure make is appear appealing, but not sure my arthritis would allow me to do it. Loved getting your emails - will respond soon.

  3. Great shots of the heron posing like a statue and I learned a couple things about them too - not that I will remember what I learned though.

  4. I love the heron portrait! The first unknown bird is probably a female red-winged blackbird. The last silhouetted bird is a tern of some sort.

  5. I don't know about the birds, but that yellow aquatic plant is spadderdock not a water lily. I wouldn't normally say anything, but I know how you like to identify plants.

    1. Actually, it is Yellow Water Lily (Nuphar lutea) but is also known as Bullhead Lilly, Spatterdock, Pond Lily and Cow Lily. Not that they want to confuse anybody or anything. Feel free to say something anytime, it's not like I don't need me some educating! I just spent an hour online and going through my guidebook trying to identify two plants here in the Manitowoc area with NO LUCK! I'll definitely take all the suggestions I can get when I post those!