Sunday, June 23, 2013


This has been a busy day.  After bringing the dogs back this morning from the forest,  I changed clothes, laundered everything I had on to assure the ticks and chiggers were eliminated and loaded up the canoe for a paddle across the French Broad River to the flood plain.  The dogs were all bagged out under ceiling fans.  They were worn out and that's a good thing.  I should have joined them, but I had a desire to feel the paddle in my hand that I couldn't resist.

I slammed the Attikamek into the water at Rankin and blasted across the French Broad as fast as I could paddle to avoid any boat traffic.  This is Sunday and there were many boats on the water.  They don't normally come up this far on the river,  but Sunday is busy.  I went straight into the trees across from the boat ramp and headed upstream through the jungle.
I would slide around the right side of the trees on the right corner of the above shot that would allow the canoe access to the interior of the flooded forest.

Ah - this is better.  I slowed down the paddle strokes and just eased silently along the trees.  I will find a small opening in the line of foliage and head on in under the branches and try to lose myself in this tangle.

I'll paddle around the right side of that vertical snag in the right side of the photo and that should put me into the trees - I mean under the trees.

It appeared to be a dead end.  It was endless water grass as far as I could see, but there was good water beneath.  This is where a kevlar boat shines.  This boat glided effortlessly over the top of this dense grass as if it weren't there.  I pushed on.

I kept looking for some clear water, even the width of a narrow ditch would do.  I could see it but couldn't get to it for all the obstructions that lay in my path.  It's fun to dice around debris, turning and twisting this and that way, exploring for a path through the dense, thick foliage.  

The grass thinned out and I got some room to maneuver.  The river was busy.  I was  isolated back in here, but the noise was intense.  It sounded like Laguardia Airport out on the river.  I could hear fast boats with big two stroke engines loudly flashing up and down the river.  Why is all the noise necessary?  It was really getting to me and I was entertaining the idea of just leaving the water.  I couldn't find any wildlife due to all the boat noise anyway.  Then I saw a single prothonotory warbler.  Just one.  The challenge was made.  I had to sneak up on him and photograph the tiny guy.  Small birds are more of a challenge than the big raptors and herons.
He was looking directly at me.  I chuckled to myself as I froze in mid paddle.  Here I am stalking a tiny yellow bird.  What have I become?
It's very dark back in here but I thought I could pull off some good shots.  The reason is that the bird is a brilliant yellow and will contrast to the darker than usual background.  I can, therefore, use a slightly faster shutter speed to catch the contrast.

He's not flying away.  Maybe he thinks my boat is a giant canary god or something.

I couldn't take the noise from all the boat traffic any longer.  I'm outta here.  I didn't plan to make this a long paddle so I just went straight across the river and into the woods from the boat ramp.  If I would have gone downstream and crossed the river I could have paddled far into the interior of the forest and been far, far away from any boat sounds.  It was a good little paddle trip though.  I was satisfied with the experience.  Here's one more shot of the tiny prothonotory warbler..  He's all I saw to photograph, but he is enough.