The Three Stooge-icans
One late afternoon this past week a truck pulled up and delivered my new Wavewalk Kayak. The tide had gone out so doing a test ride was out of the question. Holding a paddle and a camera at the same time is nearly impossible. I researched some special camera straps and supports that would allow me a quick reaction when I wanted to photograph something while paddling in a small boat. This morning I got the Editor off to work and then loaded up my new Kayak with my camera gear, a new chest strap, some water, phone and munchies and headed up the Broward. The tide was incoming and the current was strong as I paddled upriver. Over my shoulder a hedge of egrets flew by and into the sun before I could reach for the doohickey. Once the Herons were by me it was useless to try to shoot into the sun.
It has been many decades since I was in a canoe or paddleboat of any kind. But just like riding a bicycle, the routine and strokes and rhythm soon return and I really begin to enjoy the scenery along the river marsh. As I round the bend in the bright morning sunlight I see them. The same three White Pelicans I believe I saw fly down the river a few days ago. White Pelicans are on my “short list”. Although the Browns often come near, the White Pelicans rarely come close to my area of the Broward, and remain in the deeper main channel. The trio sit on the dock and watch me approach. The birds then huddle and appear to converse and look like the three stooges, Larry, Curly and Moe. So I name them the Three Stooge-icans. Larry takes off leaving Curly and Moe in the dust. I turn and follow them with the doohickey as best I can and watch them land about a hundred yards down river. The chase is on. Surprisingly the “Stooge-ican” let me paddle right up to them. Taking a picture from a bobbing Kayak is not as easy as I thought it would be but I manage a few keepers of these magnificent white birds.
White and Brown Pelicans frequent the area but I normally only see them during the fall and winter months. The whites are one of the largest birds in North America and exciting to see gliding by on those broad white wings with black trailing edges. Per Cornell Ornithology laboratory “ The White Pelican does not dive for fish as the Brown Pelican does. Instead, it dips its head underwater to scoop up fish. Several pelicans may fish cooperatively, moving into a circle to concentrate fish, and then dipping their heads under simultaneously to catch fish.” I have observed this behavior mentioned. Drifting with the tide, I continue back to my neck of the Broward. There are several birds I spot in a tree in the meandering creek that runs by the school. Ducking under some overhanging tree limbs, I discover where all the birds I see fly by hang out. There were Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Great Blue, Tri-Colored, Little Blue, and Green Herons. And my favorite Spoonbill, Rosie was there too! They all take off when they spot me but I let them know “I’ll be back! “
After about three hours of paddling something suddenly came to me. My age. Oh my shoulder hurt now, and my hip and leg begin to cramp up. And I was just getting to enjoy this. Hmm, if I only had a small engine…Wonder how many Tylenol it will take to get to sleep tonight….in the meantime..Ya’ll be Blessed. Harry