Sunday, February 15, 2015
FEBRUARY 2 ON PEPPER CREEK
Two weeks ago, 2 Feb, out on Pepper Creek, I saw the first bloom of the season.
After that, I pointed it out to my riders on the return trips, and last week, as I did so, one of them turned to look at me as I spoke and said, "There's another one behind you!"
And as we moved slowly through the passing point in the creek known to drivers as APM, we saw several new blooms.
We also saw a noticeable increase in the number of birds on the creek last week.
This is an exciting time of the year on Pepper Creek. In my limited time piloting boatloads of park guests up and down the creek, a little over a year now, I have seen that this is the time of year with the most to see on the creek, and for the next few months. At least as far as animals and blooms are concerned.
I mentioned this before: due to a weather front moving in, my duties were ended early last Monday, and I was ordered to come back with an empty boat, and was the only boat left on the creek, so I took the opportunity to stop and smell- or at least get photographs of- all the new blooms that I could.
As always, click on any given image to open a larger view. I hope you enjoy them!
1) The first bloom of the season on the Bottle Brush Tree right next to the block of concrete on the edge of the creek. Over the nest few weeks, the tree will be covered with them.
2) Boat Pilot Mark passing through the deepest and sunniest section of the creek on the north side of Osprey Island.
3) A small gator, about 4 feet, resting his head on the log on the north side of Osprey Island as seen in the image above.
4) A Great Blue Heron along the edge of Pepper Creek.
5) A pair of wood ducks in the brush on Pepper Creek.
6) Empty on my return run, I stayed on the west side of Osprey Island and grabbed this shot of an arm of the creek that continues north, showing the more natural condition of the creek in a section that was not dredged to fit the big boats.
7) Zooming up an un-dredged section of the creek shows a couple of turtles out on a log out of the traffic.
8) Earlier, on the east side of Osprey Island, a view of the Osprey nest.
9) One of the Osprey pair sits on a branch beside the 30 year old nest.
10) Coming into the APM passing point, on the right bank, some blooms have appeared among the trees.
11) Two of the blooms.
12) A bloom.
13) A little farther into the APM passing point, on the right, a second apparition.
14) A bloom.
15) Another area showing flowering plants on each side of the brush.
17) The other side.
18) A bunch of blooms.
19) Coming into the turn at the end of the APM Passing point, on the left side, two blooms about ten feet apart showed through.
20) The Red Bloom.
21) The Purple Bloom.
22) Back at the Visitors Center dock, a larger gator has taken his place on the raft.
See also a short video of the two gators from this day.