Saturday, May 28, 2005

05/28/2005 – Byrnes Lake to McVay, Gravine, and Briar

Launch: Byrnes Lake. Launch Fee: Free. Route: West on Byrnes Lake to Tensaw River, then south to McVay’s Lake. Explore McVay’s Lake. Then up the west side of Gravine Island. Explore the first creek. Then up past the north end of Gravine Island into the cut that goes to Mobile River. Right into Briar Creek. Right into the first creek (un-named) and then back to Byrnes Lake. Distance: 22.1 miles. Average Speed: 2.8 mph. Time: Approx 8 hrs. Pace: Slow. Weather: It was a bit warm - about 90 degrees, chance of afternoon showers that never happened.

(1) Above left. Was on the water about 5:45 am, just in time to enjoy the morning sunrise. Surface fog danced on the water. (2) Never seen so many herons on one trip. The night heron in the above right cropped photo, had just caught a crab, one of their favorite foods. (Sorry, digital cameras tend to blur images in low light conditions.)

(3) Above left. Once into McVay’s Lake, the water’s surface turned into a mirror because there was no boat traffic, nor wind. (4) Above right. Further up into McVay’s Lake, a series of tree trunks with the aid of low tide, made it look like a kaleidoscope. Plus, turn your head sideways so the right side becomes the bottom. Ignoring my sandals, now what do you see? Do you see a head, hair on the head, and the green headband? How about the legs? Whoa, maybe I did too much LSD today.

(5) Above left. McVay’s Lake has about seven forks to explore – one could get lost in there. Unfortunately, alligator weed, water primrose, and some other weed with a single round leaf have banded together and clogged many of the branches. (6) Above right. The birds were very active all along the west side of Gravine Island. I kept passing this tri-colored heron and it would fly ahead landing on a lotus pad, watch me go by, and then fly ahead again. This cycle went on for about 20 minutes. Also saw a flock of white herons, some osprey eagles, and lots of gulls.

(7) Above left. Lizard’s-tail flowers are in full bloom. (aka water-dragon, need-viagara plant, aka Saururus cernuus.) (8) Above right. You can’t forget the lizard’s-tail wildflower because their masses coat the banks of some streams, their flower droops, and their leaves are heart shaped.

(9) Above left. There was a big mass of water willow (aka Justicia americana) in bloom. It is the first time I have ever seen this plant in the delta. It was mixed in with a mass of alligator weed and water primrose. (10) Above right. Upon exiting the Briar creek tributary, a 3-4 foot alligator showed no fear and swam along aside the kayak for several minutes until I was out of his territory. Lots of birds, new flower sightings, friendly alligators, and good exercise. The Mobile-Tensaw River Delta is a special asset to the Mobile area – it is both a natural zoo and a native botanical garden. My compliments to the keepers of the zoo and gardens.

1 comment:

  1. hey, driving down to Pierre Part and Belle River last weekend, I saw entire roadside ditches filled with lizard tail - this went on for miles. Very pretty to see!


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