Friday, May 18, 2012

05/18/2012 - ASRT Black Warrior Nature Paddle

Launch: On the Black Warrior River northeast of Demopolis at Old Lock 5 Park. Launch choices were a Rock bank, a concrete boat ramp, or a fixed concrete dock. It would have been nice to have a kayak designated launch area - friendly grass or sand bank to launch from. I struggled and ended up hurting my wrist while getting out on the high concrete dock as the one lane boat ramp was busy.
Launch Cost: Free
Destination: Explore Big Prairie Creek and a couple nearby sloughs.
Paddle Distance: About 20 miles (round trip)
Paddle time: 7.5 Hrs
Weather: Sunny, winds calm to 5 mph. Air temp 75-85 degrees. River and Creek currents minimal at less than 0.5 mph.
GPS Track: To view or download the GPS track of this trip, Click Here.

I went up to Demopolis early for the Alabama Scenic River Trail's Black Warrior Nature Paddle event and got in a paddle before the group gathered in the evening at Foscue Creek Park.

A few areas along Big Prairie Creek were swamped by wild Coneflowers (Dracopis amplexicaulis).

Mayflies were dense along the shoreline.

A male Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) dragonfly.

Yes, they have Alligators in Big Prairie Creek.

This turtle's shell had a thick layer of algae on it.

Pearly Crescentspot butterflies were abundant.

Pearly crescentspot on a coneflower.

The major theme of the ASRT Black Warrior Nature Paddle was birds. Here is an Osprey Eagle.

A pretty blue bird.

A turtle shares his log with a turquoise eye colored Cormorant.

The Cormorant flew off and dove into the water.

While cows are not wild animals, to see such huge animals next to the shoreline on a paddle does make the paddle more interesting.

There was small section of Big Prairie Creek where the water color became a funky green color. When I mentioned this to some local Demopolis residents, they brought up the subject of sewage pollution from Uniontown. Uniontown is 12 miles away though and sewage spills release into Cotton Creek, not directly into Big Prairie Creek and this green colored section was confined to about a mile stretch of Big Prairie Creek. There is nearby farmland so perhaps this was an algae bloom related to fertilizer runoff. There are also about a thousand catfish farm ponds to the east of this creek. Most of the creek color was light brown like in photo 11.

Big Prairie Creek is a beautiful creek to paddle with almost no sign of civilization. The creek is long enough that you can paddle all day in it without running into a dead end or a log jam.

There are at least nine beautiful sloughs within 2 miles of the Old Lock 5 Park of which I only had time to explore three of them. Motor boat traffic is rare in the sloughs while wildlife and bird watching opportunity is maximum.

Osprey Eagle.

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