Jul 8th 2006
This is a trip, that I have wanted to do for a while, but just never got around to taking. I have visited the Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) several times in the past without my kayak, and have enjoyed the area. Upon arriving, I was a little disappointed with the water level, and I almost changed my plans, and I am glad I didn't. Launching the kayak was a little difficult, but not impossible.
I set out down the channel along the dike road, which had a lot of Swamp Hibiscus in bloom. I then made the turn into the main channel leading out to the North Landing river, there were several smaller channels along the way but the water was to shallow to explore them. While making my down the channel I saw in the distance a large soaring bird, being harassed by smaller birds, but I couldn't make out what it was, but after a while it changed course , and as I got closer I got a better look and I am pretty sure it was a juvenile Bald Eagle. I got a couple of good pictures, and I was just enjoying watching this bird soar, when I look to the North, and I see 4 more large birds soaring and headed my way, none of these got close enough to get a real good look at. The 5 birds spent a little time together, doing lazy turns in the sky. After about 10 minutes, the 4 birds headed back to the North while the original bird headed off to the South.
So I decided to see what else I could see in the refuge, and check out one of the larger channels I passed on the way out, it look ad was deep enough for the most part, and was able to follow main part of it all the way up. About half way up, there was a sharp bend and I could see a Great Egret and took a picture just ass it took off, and as soon as a put the camera down another pops out and flies away, followed by another and another for a total of 8. I was almost thinking this was the Great Egret rendition of the old clown car routine, because when I passed where they were coming out of it was just a very small and short inlet maybe 8-10 yards deep and less then a yard wide.
I also passed what appeared to be the remnants of an aircraft, but I could only find some real generic references of couple of Navy/Marine aircraft that did go down in the area.
All in all this was a nice relaxing trip, and I plan on returning when the water levels are higher and checking out more of the refuge
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