23 March, 2015

Now there's something you don't see every day!

In fact, during my paddle from Baum's Weir up above Merrawarp Road on Sunday, I saw several things I don't see every day. The weather was perfect for a paddle, sunny but not too hot with only a very light breeze. I headed off at about midday, snapping photos here and there as I went.
Not surprisingly given the weather, I passed several other paddlers. First was a fisherman who I suspect I've seen before, followed by another two pairs of kayakers. As I headed around the bend above the Merrawarp Road Bridge, I spotted a number of brightly coloured canoes "parked" on the bank. I'd been expecting to find these guys as I'd heard that one of the local scouting groups would be out on this part of the river.
Scouts practising their moves later in the day
Sent on my way with a big wave from one of the kids I knew, I paddled on up to what I like to refer to as the point of no return. At this point, there is a small island in the middle of the river which quickly becomes very shallow. A little further up, a tree completely obstructs access (unless you are prepared to do some climbing). As I blogged here about two years ago, I have paddled the section from Pollocksford down to Merrawarp Road, but above this point, the river is much shallower and obstructions are frequent.
From this point on, things get much trickier
On this occasion I stopped for lunch in the shade. As I manoeuvred into position, I spotted movement on the bank - a fox. Definitely not something I see every day, however I do occasionally see them on the riverbank when I'm paddling. Generally, they disappear before I can get my camera out. This guy however, hung around for a few moments, but made sure he was conveniently screened by the surrounding bushes, so I have a great photo of an orange blur and a bunch of bushes.
Oh well, I finished lunch and began the paddle back. I hadn't gone too far when I came across something else I definitely don't see every day. There, on the bank above me was a sizeable Wedge-tailed Eagle. I have seen them on the wing over this part of the river before, but not on the ground. As I grabbed for my camera I saw its mate take off, but this one seemed happy enough just to watch while I attempted to get a decent shot of it. After posing for a few shots, it took off to a tree on the opposite bank which had me staring straight into the sun so after unsuccessfully attempting to get some more photos, I reluctantly headed off.
Wedge-tailed Eagle on the riverbank
Once again, I hadn't paddled too far when I spotted another beastie - a Murray River Turtle. This is the third I have seen since late last year and like both the others, this guy was basking on a log protruding from the water. As I've said before, I'm not sure whether these guys found their own way here or whether they have bred from escaped pets. This one was a little camera shy and didn't let me get too close before it plopped of its log and disappeared beneath the surface of the water.
Murray River Turtle - a long way from home

Finally, a little further still downriver, I came across my fourth surprise for the afternoon, although in retrospect I should not have been surprised as I think I have seen these guys before. I rounded a slight bend, close to the bank and found myself face to face with a pair of alpacas.

Watching me watching you...
I couldn't see any of the sheep who were their probable charges, but I did wonder if they knew about the fox I'd seen upriver a little and hoped that they were doing their job!
The rest of the trip back passed uneventfully with no further surprises on what may be one of the few sunny days left for paddling this year.

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