Monday, December 31, 2012

Icy Morning on the Gut

There are some years when when ice comes to our spot on the Crystal Coast earlier than others.  The year 2012, is not one of them.  We have enjoyed some great weather in December.  I even spent the morning of Christmas Day out in the White Oak River in my kayak.

The icy picture in the post was taken the morning of the last day of 2012.  It finally got cold enough to create some ice on Raymond's Gut.  The gut flows behind our home and heads out to the White Oak River.  We are subject to tides so you never know exactly what is going to happen with ice, but this time the ice disappeared by the middle of the afternoon.

The only reason that I got to see the ice is that I usually take an early morning walk of a couple of miles around the marsh that is near our home.  My first stop after I leave the house is the dock behind our home.  It takes me about five minutes to walk from there over to the boardwalk around our clubhouse.  There the sun is usually just getting to the tops of the big pine trees when I walk onto the boardwalk.  I snapped the picture at the top of the post just before I left the boardwalk.

It was December 31, when I was greeted by some ice in the gut and an otter enjoying an icy morning swim.   There was a pair of them and one even swam over to check me out.  It not unusual  to come upon wildlife on my morning walk.  We live in a natural paradise populated by egrets, herons, kingfishers, ducks, and other birds.  We also apparently have a good supply of fish that they enjoy eating.  At least that I what I assume since they keep coming back.

The icy morning I finished my hour and one half walk by checking out the water by our dock once again.  I found one of the otters looking for fish not far from the dock.  I only watched a couple of minutes before he caught one.  Luckily I had my video camera with me so I took a video of the otter enjoying his very fresh morning breakfast of fish.  The fish-eating otter video is now posted on YouTube.

People often ask me if I get tired of walking in the same area.  I do try to get over and hike the beaches when the weather isn't so cold, but I rarely am disappointed with my walk around the marshes.  While the cast of characters is often the same, I usually find them in a new spot or doing something different.

The numerous great blue herons that visit are my favorites.   It takes some patience and care to sneak up on a great blue and actually take a few photos.  It is a challenge that I enjoy.

I figure that my passion for taking pictures of wildlife is a great hobby.  It gets me outside, but it is a lot easier than owning a dog.  I also get to take pictures from our skiff and my kayak.  I have gotten some fantastic pictures from the kayak.  For some reason it is easier to sneak up on the big birds in the kayak than it is on foot.

You can enjoy many of the photos that I have taken in the area this fall at this photo album.  If the photos make you want to come for a visit, you can find more information at this page.