Hey Floridabirders,

Took a little trip with a few other kayakers on the Slave Canal in
southeastern Jefferson County today. We spent a little over 5 hours on the
water (0900 to 1420)with a mostly warm but cloudy day. Our launch point was
on the Wacissa River at Goose Pasture and take out was on the Aucilla River
just north of Hwy. 98.

The first part of the trip was on the Wacissa from Goose Pasture south until
the Wacissa turns southeast and heads toward a part of the Aucilla River
that goes underground. The remainder of the trip was through the Slave Canal
down to the lower part of the Aucilla near Highway 98. The Slave Canal was
dug between 1830 and 1840 with the intent of transporting barges loaded with
cotton from the town of Wacissa to the Gulf. The shallow narrow, winding
canal passes through some spectacular hardwood bottomlands and cabbage palm
hammocks. You would not recognize it as a canal today. There are several
trees that have fallen across the canal so with the river level being a
little low, we were able to squeeze under them. No portaging this time.

What surprised me was how slow the birding was. In the roughly 5 mile run
(Wacissa and Slave Canal) not one Barred Owl was heard in what I would
consider prime habitat. Red-shouldered hawks were also quiet, that's if they
were even around. Most of the trip was oddly quiet (bird wise) and quite
peaceful. The Slave Canal, even with the natural blockades is a beautiful
and worthwhile trip. Just make sure that you go with someone that has made
several runs through the canal and knows the entrance location well.

Birds seen and heard were:
* Great Egret - 3 all near Goose Pasture
* Little Blue Heron - 1 all white juv. near Goose Pasture
* Turkey Vulture - 4 all near Goose Pasture
* Yellow-billed Cuckoo - 2 plus 4 heard
* Red-bellied Woodpecker - 1 heard
* Pileated Woodpecker - 1 plus 6 heard
* Flycatcher - Empid sp. poor view and not calling
* White-eyed Vireo - 10 heard, most vocal bird around today
* Fish Crow - 2 near Goose Pasture
* Tufted Titmouse - 1 heard
* Carolina Wren - 4 heard
* Prothonotary Warbler - 1 female
* Northern Cardinal - 1 heard
* Red-winged Blackbirds - 18 male/female near Goose Pasture

And several Bronze Frogs joined in the chorus.

Still a pleasant day on the water.

Harry Hooper
Tallahassee, Florida

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