Friday, July 15, 2011
This week I made it out to the Fox River in the Chain-O-Lakes State Park. This was one of the first places I paddled the Fox last season. It was not the most interesting section for me last season, but it was different this time.
I dropped in at the boat launch in the State Park and headed north. This section is all cattails and calm water. The river still has a nice flow to it, but nothing like the tight sections down river. Around each bend was more cattails... until I started to pay attention to the Herons. I first noticed 2 white herons together on the first bend. Then there was a Blue Heron on the next stretch. Then I came across a red faced Heron type bird. I do not know what it was and I have had some trouble finding it online.
Now, the Heron has become my paddling mascot because we see one almost every time we go out. On a good paddle, we see about 1-4 of them. On this paddle, I was 3 turns in and I had already seen 10. I was following a flock of 3 of them, but I only counted them once. There is always something that stands out on a trip and I quickly realized that this was going to be the 'Heron Run'.
I saw quite a few of these brown birds with red faces. They were a lot less skittish than the White and Blue Herons. They had a very prehistoric look to them, which gave the hole section a little different feel. I felt that I was going to come around a bend and see a brontosaurus bathing in the river.
It was all cattails until I got to the north end of the park and came up to the 173 bridge. The river looked like it got more wooded and interesting at that point. I was fighting the light, so I turned around at the bridge. I think I may launch in this section next time and head to Wisconsin.
So how many Herons did I see on this trip? 30. That is no lie or exaggeration. I was just as surprised while I was counting them. I didn't count any on the way back either!