Mariton: Wildlife Kayak Trip
by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager
We had a wonderful Saturday morning in the kayaks on Lake Nockamixon. When I put together my Events Schedule months in advance, I can think about what the weather might be like in the future. I can imagine what birds might be migrating, and what animals might make an appearance. But it is all just hope and luck when the day arrives.
Well, Maureen and I got really lucky with this trip. The weather couldn’t have been better. When we pulled up to the launch with the kayak trailer, an Osprey flew over us, and then we watched it dive into the water after a fish and fly off. (I’m actually very optimistic, but figured that by the time the people arrived this osprey would be long gone.) We unloaded the boats, and organized gear. People started arriving and we greeted them and got their kayaks and PFDs fitted. We hadn’t been on the water 10 minutes when I looked back to check on everyone and saw an Osprey flying low. It flew over our group and then circled a time or two while we scrambled to get our cameras turned on and positioned.
We had a leisurely paddle and saw Great Blue Herons. We stopped by the beaver lodge (where we got to see the beaver on our nighttime paddle two weeks ago – another stroke of luck). There was a Painted Turtle sunning itself on the edge of the lodge. Then someone noticed another; and another.
We continued paddling up the channel and saw fish swimming and two Green Herons. We kayaked until it was too shallow to go further. We got out there and stood in the cool, clear stream to stretch our legs and chat. When we turned around and headed back there were dozens of photogenic turtles sunning themselves on every log and stump. Everyone had fun taking pictures, and scanning through the lilies to find a turtle that someone had missed.
I was talking to one of the ladies when she pointed asked what kind of hawk is that? Up in the sky, I saw a large raptor with the broad flat wings and thought, “Oh my.” I hedged for a second until it banked and sun shone on its white head. A Bald Eagle! It wasn’t super close, but everyone got to see it as it flew down the lake. Then, a Bald Eagle flew directly towards us and landed in a tree above the water, about 30 yards away. We were able to paddle by it and take lots of photos from a respectful distance. As we paddled to the take out I wondered at my luck.