Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sheldon Lake: Gators in the Mist

This was one of those days I where I really needed the peace I find when on the water, but the weather wasn't cooperating. As the morning progressed, the clouds hung stubbornly low in the sky and the forecast showed a good chance of rain. After dithering for a couple of hours, I finally loaded the boat and headed east a little after eleven in the morning. As I passed through downtown the low clouds dropped lower still to become a wet fog that left water droplets clinging to the windshield.

When I reached Sheldon, I found the surface of the lake shrouded in mist. After donning a rain slicker to keep off the cool wetness of the air, I shoved off into the still waters. Perhaps due to the dim conditions, it proved to be a great day for spotting alligators.

Some were slowly cruising the channel while others were floating stationary in the water with just nose and eyes showing. Over the course of the paddle, I spotted something close to ten of them. (I can't promise that one or two weren't double counted since I haven't come up with a good system for distinguishing similar sized gators at a distance)

Not too surprisingly for spring at Sheldon, it also proved to be a good day for bird watching. All of the usual suspects were there: grackles, herons, ibis, egrets, cormorants, and ducks. I also spotted an osprey sitting atop a cypress tree - a first for me at this lake. There were also a number of roseate spoonbills on the lake and for the first time I was able to get close enough for some good pictures, even with the limited zoom on my camera.

The mist never fully lifted in the two or three hours that I paddled, but the weather didn't get any worse either. I'm grateful. Even a less than perfect spring day on Sheldon Lake is better than good days many other places.

More Pictures From Sheldon Lake

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