Friday, July 11, 2014

A horde of herons

The Licking River enters Dillon Lake at its northwest end, carrying silt and depositing it over a wide delta where fish spawn and birds wade and canoes run aground in the muck, but no matter. We pushed our way off one sand bar after another in our attempts to observe a horde of great blue herons. I fear being accused of exaggeration, but at one point we counted at least 50 herons feeding in various parts of the delta, and we saw many more in other parts of the lake, in addition to a bald eagle, a pair of egrets, and some kingfishers. I've never seen that many great blue herons in one place, even in Florida. 

Of course, it took some effort to get there. We'd never been on Dillon Lake before so we consulted the official park map and put the canoe in at the boat ramp on the south end, so we had to paddle for more than an hour before we got to the river delta. There we encountered a friendly and helpful kayaker, one of only about a half-dozen boats on the entire lake, and he filled us in on the deeper channel that avoids the sand bars (good to know) as well as a rudimentary boat ramp that's not marked on the official map. It's steep and muddy and offers little room for parking, but it's very close to the river and would allow us to reserve some energy for paddling further upstream than we were able to manage. That's a project for another time, though. Four hours of paddling is quite enough for one hot day.

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