Sunday, November 17, 2013

Desert Kayaking: Mittry Lake in Yuma, AZ

Today we both went kayaking for the first time in two months.  The place: The Mittry Lake Wildlife Area.  The lake, along with its serpentine waterways and marshes, is jointly managed by the state of Arizona, the BLM and the Bureau of Reclamation. Its on the Colorado River and upstream from the Colorado's Laguna Dam.

We got our boats in the water about 10 a.m. and were on the water until 1:30.  We saw hundreds of birds but very few people -- just two boats of folks fishing and a few others fishing from the shore.

Mittry Lake is only 6 miles from our campsite at the Yuma Proving Ground, but the road is a little rough so it took us about 20 minutes to get there. It was a gorgeous day to kayak -- maybe 75 degrees with a slight breeze.  Not so for the entire country, however:  When we got back, Jim was watching TV and noticed that it looked like all of Ohio was under tornado watches and warnings. So I called my Mom who said it had been nice all day but "now that I look out my window is does look like the wind is picking up." Hope all is well back there, Mom.
This is the first time we've kayaked near palm trees.  Jim is to the right.
Selfie of a happy kayaker.
We saw hundred of coots and a bunch of them is called a "raft."  Here a raft moves a few yards away from our kayaks.  They just kind of run across the water and then settle back in. 
A coot close up.  I thought coots were ducks, but they are not.  They are an order of bird called "rails" and are more closely related to Sandhill Cranes than to ducks, but they do dive like ducks.  One of the sounds they made is like a gate with a rusty hinge being quickly moved back and forth.  Errk errk.   Pause.  Errk Errk.  Pause.  The closer we got, the shorter the pauses between the errk errks   So yes: they swim like ducks and dive like ducks, but they don't quack like ducks.  And they probably don't quite walk like ducks, because they don't have webbed feet.  
We also saw a heron (above) and some osprey.
And in the continuing burro saga, these two guys wandered behind our rig (on the other side of the Proving Ground fence) while we were watching the Oregon-Utah Game. Should have stayed outside and kept watching the burros.

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